Avondale West expresses gratitude for road repairs amid concerns

29 Mar, 2024 - 00:03 0 Views
Avondale West expresses gratitude for road repairs amid concerns The dualisation of Nemakonde Way from King George Road to the Westgate roundabout is underway.


Peter Tanyanyiwa Suburban Reporter

Residents of Avondale West have expressed their gratitude to the Government of Zimbabwe for the ongoing road rehabilitation as part of the National Harare/Chirundu Road Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project.

The repairs being undertaken by Fossil Contracting Pvt Ltd will also see the widening of roads connecting Harare and the new Parliament Building in Mt Hampden, as well as the farming towns of Banket, Chinhoyi, Karoi, and the resort town of Kariba, all the way up to Chirundu Border Post into neighbouring Zambia.

The impact of road closures, particularly on Nemakonde Way (formerly Lomagundi Road), has been strongly felt by Avondale West residents. Nemakonde Way is currently blocked from Stoney Road in Greencroft to Belfast Road in Emerald Hill. The closure has led to traffic congestion, with vehicles, including 30-tonne trucks and big buses, causing bumper-to-bumper traffic day and night.

This has raised concerns about the noise and disruption to residents’ daily lives, with worries about the potential lack of sleep for the next three months until the road works are completed by the end of June.

The closure of Nemakonde Way has also resulted in traffic diversions, leading to increased congestion on smaller suburban roads such as Perth Road. This has raised safety concerns, with reports of reckless driving and accidents at intersections, as well as worries about the impact on smaller roads due to the increased volume of traffic some of which will be carrying heavy loads.

Huge haulage trucks passing through the suburban roads have caused a fair of electricity outages in Avondale West with residents reporting that the big trucks are damaging electricity cables.

Avondale West resident Mrs Sheena Lawrence said that while the residents appreciate the efforts to fix the roads, the detour signs seem to be leading traffic onto their small suburban roads, causing an unprecedented increase in heavy traffic.

“I noticed that there are detour signs from Nemakonde Way into West Road and the next detour sign is from West Road into Suffolk. However, nobody is driving down as far as Suffolk, they are just taking the first right turn from West Road which happens to be into Perth Road. Sherwood Drive and Suffolk Road were obviously prepared for the purpose of taking the diverted traffic but I don’t think anyone envisaged traffic then detouring into Perth. Whilst residents are happy that the roads are being fixed, we are not happy about our small suburban roads having to take this huge increase in traffic including the big 30-tonne rigs and fuel tankers.

This traffic should be using the perimeter roads of West and Suffolk,” said Mrs Lawrence.

The City of Harare has issued a notice urging residents to avoid the affected roads as much as possible during the construction period, saying it was inevitable to close the roads to ensure the safety of motorists, pedestrians, and construction workers.

Other major roads that have had to be closed are parts of Julius Nyerere Way, Sam Nujoma Street, Samora Machel Avenue, Central Avenue, and Nemakonde Way. The closure is to ensure the timely completion of the repairs and upgrades.

In an interview on Wednesday this week, Ward 17 Councillor Happymore Gotora said residents should understand that what they are currently going through is necessary for them to enjoy the benefits of better roads.

He, however, appealed to the Government to also look into the repairs of the feeder roads currently used by motorists as diversion routes when the major road rehabilitation exercise is over.

“While I understand the inconvenience our community is facing due to the ongoing road rehabilitation, it’s a necessary step for the greater benefits that lie ahead, particularly the rehabilitation of Nemakonde Way. I appeal to the Government to consider rehabilitating feeder roads like Perth Road, which are currently bearing the brunt of increased traffic, once the main project is completed. I apologise for the inconvenience and assure you that steps will be taken to address the impact on our local roads,” said Cllr Gotora.

The rehabilitation and upgrading of roads countrywide have been a focal point for the Government, with the Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu Highway being a key part of the broader road infrastructure development plans. The project is expected to create job opportunities and improve the overall road network, contributing to the safety and connectivity within Zimbabwe and the SADC region.

Concerns raised by residents:

Traffic congestion and noise pollution: residents expressed concerns about the increased traffic congestion and noise pollution due to the closure of Nemakonde Way for rehabilitation. They said the traffic, including heavy trucks and big buses, has led to bumper-to-bumper congestion, causing disturbances and sleep deprivation for the residents.

Safety issues and reckless driving: Residents also highlighted safety issues, particularly at the intersection of Perth Road and Ascot Road, where some drivers are speeding past the intersection without due caution.

They reported that in a recent incident a commuter omnibus failed to stop and collided with another vehicle. Residents said the increased traffic flow makes the intersection a high accident zone.

Road conditions and infrastructure maintenance: Another concern raised is the condition of Perth Road, which has not been addressed despite the increased traffic. Residents said the road is potholed and expressed fears that the road might fall into further disrepair due to the inability to handle the current volume of traffic.

Power outages and electricity cable damage: Residents reported that heavily loaded haulage trucks are damaging electricity infrastructure in the suburb resulting in power outages.

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