By Farai Kuvirimirwa
Tollgate fees are likely to increase after the construction of new state-of-the-art toll plazas on the country’s highways that has started with a pilot project along the Bulawayo-Harare highway.
Zimbabwe National Road Administration spokesperson Mr Augustine Moyo yesterday said the new fees would be in line with improved conditions at the toll plazas. “The US$1 charged on small vehicles will be sub-economic and we are likely to increase the current fees,” he said.
The new tollgates, which feature modern security systems, will first be erected along the Plumtree-Mutare Road at a minimum cost of US$1 million each. The first tollgate is expected to be completed by end of the year, while the expansion projects should be done within three years.
The first tollgate is at the 17-kilometre peg along the Bulawayo-Harare highway. “The first tollgate in the Infralink project between Zinara and Group Five is moving in a positive direction,” said Mr Moyo.
“We are at 20 percent of the progress on the whole singular project. We expect the project to be completed and fully functional by December 31. From there, we will kick start other projects until we reach Mutare.”
Group Five is the main contractor, which sub-contracted to JR Goddard.
JR Goddard then sub-contracted local Bulawayo companies that will do the brickwork and electrification of the new toll plazas. Mr Moyo said the toll plazas would have four ways, with passenger vehicles and heavy trucks using separate routes.
“The toll plazas will be found on the Infralink project which will stretch from Plumtree to Mutare and there will be nine toll plazas in total on the route,” said Mr Moyo.
“The new toll plazas will comprise high security features which will curb leakages of revenue we have been having at the current tollgates.”
Mr Moyo said next to the toll plazas would be control booths which would supply back-up facilities at all times.
“Impact attenuators and concrete barriers at the toll plazas will ensure more safety to cashiers from motorists. Detours for abnormal trucks will have tarmac surfaces as compared to the current set up,” he said.
“Traffic lights will be fitted on the new toll plazas and they will control traffic at any given time of the day. Given there is congestion in a specific direction, one passage will be opened to enable motorists to proceed without delays.”
Mr Moyo said Zinara would retain 13 percent of the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority workers at the tollgates. “Government vehicles will not pay, but we have been encountering problems where most government vehicles now have yellow number plates,” he said.
“When such a situation arises, proper identification particulars will be produced which will do away with the abuse of exemptions that were being done by some members of society.” Mr Moyo said Zinara would roll out exemption tickets to certain sectors and offer credits to senior Government offices.
The new tollgates will replace those in existence that have been condemned by the Ministry of Transport, Communications and Infrastructure as substandard.
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