THE Mbudzi Traffic Interchange, which is currently under construction, is expected to be completed next year, Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube has said.
Delivering the 2023 National Budget at the New Parliament Building in Mt Hampden last week, Minister Ncube said the construction of the Mbudzi Traffic Interchange was progressing well and should be completed next year.
“The construction of the Mbudzi Traffic Interchange, meant to eliminate congestion and complement the ongoing upgrading works on the Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu highway, is progressing well and expected to be completed in 2023,” said Minister Ncube.
He said a number of works will be done next year which will see the completion of the project. These include the construction of nine bridges, including the main bridge, backfilling of bridge approaches and construction of 14 approach roads including diversion routes of Amalinda Road and its bridge.
The US$88 million state-of-the-art Mbudzi interchange at the intersection of Simon Mazorodze Road, Chitungwiza Road, and High Glen Road is seeing an incredible amount of construction as the collection of bridgework on several levels is constructed.
When finished all traffic moving into the intersection where the four roads meet will be able to go through the intersection without stopping and without having to give way, since each strand of the traffic will be on its own level and own route that does not meet another route.
The intersection handles incredibly heavy traffic feed from western Chitungwiza and many old and new suburbs into Harare City Centre which include Glen Norah, Glen View, Highfield, Fidelity Park, Southlea Park, Hopley, Stoneridge, Southview Park and Ushewokunze, as well as the heavy national and regional traffic on the Harare-Masvingo highway.
In June, Government said Mbudzi roundabout will be closed for 18 months to allow construction of the interchange to proceed swiftly.
When complete, the world-class interchange being constructed under the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme, is expected to eliminate congestion at the point where two major highways meet the Beitbridge-Harare national highway, with the traffic circle that was deemed adequate a few decades ago now totally overwhelmed.
The widening of the Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu highway plus its reconstruction and rehabilitation is a critical component of the north-south corridor and huge delays as this highway met the major southern urban roads in Harare would negate many of the advantages won, as well as jamming traffic crossing the highway.
In a related matter, the Minister told Parliament that Government will allocate ZWL$6 billion for the importation of more buses to improve urban public transport.
Urban centres, in particular Harare and Bulawayo, have witnessed a surge in demand for public transport, arising from an increase in traffic volumes of private vehicles, that has resulted in traffic congestion on major roads during peak hours.
“This is notwithstanding the liberalisation of the sector in May 2022 and incentives for private players to import buses through suspension of duty.
‘‘Whilst modalities to broaden private sector participation are being finalised, the capitalisation of ZUPCO to acquire additional buses becomes imperative. Accordingly, the 2023 Budget has set aside resources amounting to ZWL$6 billion for the procurement of additional buses. This will be complemented by measures to address management of urban transportation system, governance issues, and viable fares, critical to the commercial viability of the company,” Minister Ncube said.
Government has been importing buses to capacitate ZUPCO to enable the public transport to transport commuters to and from work and school and those seeking services such as health and visiting Government offices.