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    Tuesday, 23 April 2019

    Gov abandons US$20m Chilonga Bridge plan

     The current Chilonga Bridge.
    MORRIS BISHI
    CHIREDZI BUREAU

    CHIREDZI – The Government has abandoned a US$20 million plan for a bridge across Runde River in Chilonga opting for a new and cheaper proposal that will chew a maximum of US$8 million, a senior engineer has said.
    The US$20 million  structure was designed by Engineer Peter Mukome for the Rhodhesian Government in 1970. Masvingo Provincial Roads Engineers told The Mirror that the US$8 million allocated by Government was not enough for the original 0,532km long bridge hence the change of plan.
    The construction of a bridge across Runde in Chiredzi South has always been a source of teething problems with dozens of people swept each time there are floods. The bridge also connects the remote constituency to Chiredzi Town and the rest of the country. It also can become a crucial link between Zimbabwe and Maputo, Mozambique.
    The new bridge site is 1km from the current Chilonga Bridge. The plan by the Rhodesians was supposed to see the bridge crossing across Runde River at Chilonga and a lot of the material for the structure was supposed to be imported. All materials for the proposed new plan is available locally.
    Mukome said that topographical surveys for the bridge at the new site have already been completed but there would be delays in constructing the bridge because a new tender process will have to be undertaken.
    The tender process is going to push back the hopes of Chiredzi South residents of having a bridge earlier accross the notorious Runde River.
    “The $8m availed by Government was not adequate for the bridge. It was just enough for the substructure. Taking cognisance of this, we decided on a new design that would use locally made materials only. We looked for a place with hard rock to minimise construction costs. We are unable to give you any period when we can start construction because the process should go through the new procurement regulations”, said Mukome.
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