Harare's crumbling road infrastructure

Feb 5, 2011

One of the most obvious signs of stagnation and decay from Zimbabwe's 'lost decade' of economic and political troubles is the crumbling road network.

A February 3 Herald article says Harare City Council needs about US$58 million to improve a municipal road network that has not had any major work done on it since 2002. Potholes and roads that have outrightly failed to sustain the volumes of traffic have caused a lot of damage to cars.

Figures provided to The Herald show the City needs:

US$16 million for plant and equipment needed for road works.
US$10 million for spring and chip spraying.
US$10 million for tarring.
US$2 million for failed roads.

The city has the option of hiring the necessary equipment at about US$500 000 for half-a-kilometre of work. 
Sector experts say it costs around US$1 per litre of bitumen, which covers about 1,2 square metres.

What is just as sad as the deterioration of what used to be an enviable road network are the relatively small amounts of money cited as being needed to solve the problems. There certainly isn't enough money to catch up with all that's been left behind during the last ten years of crisis-management, but as a slow but sure recovery continues, poor priority-setting seems to be just as much of a problem.


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