Construction works on Chilonga Bridge in Zimbabwe is set to resume following the government’s pledge of US $20m towards the project.
“The government has now prioritized constructing a new bridge instead of maintaining the old one which has brought more misery to communities in Chikombedzi,” said Masvingo provincial engineer, Peter Mukome.
The bridge which will link rural and urban Chiredzi is set to stretch 250 meters across Runde River and also pass through Sango Border Post and Kruger National Park in South Africa.
Additionally the new bridge is set to address carnage in South Zimbabwe after a number of people lost their lives while trying to cross the flooded low-lying Chilonga Bridge. According to site engineers pegging of the bridge at a new site some few metres away from the old one was completed in February this year. Construction works are expected to resume soon after completion of the ongoing tendering process.
The government had earlier provided US $18m for upgrading the bridge but however more funds were needed when authorities decided that building a new bridge was more convenient.
Kallisto Gwanetsa, Chiredzi South Member of Parliament hailed the move to resume construction works at the new bridge saying that the old one had become a death trap in the area.
“Construction of this bridge comes as a relief because many people have lost their lives while trying to cross the bridge,” Gwanetsa said.
Chief Tiyani Chilonga said the construction of the bridge was long overdue. “This is a positive move to our people who have been endangering their lives for long. During rainy seasons, the Runde river usually floods and submerge the bridge, forcing the locals to use longer routes to access Chiredzi town.”
“Residents who do not have money to travel using the longer route opt to risk their lives by using homemade canoes to cross the bridge,” added Chilonga.