The Sunday News
Vusumuzi Dube, Senior Municipal Reporter
THE Government has availed $3 million for the construction of a road and bridge linking Cowdray Park Hlalani Kuhle residential stands and the main road in the suburb to address the problem of inaccessibility.
Residents who live at Hlalani Kuhle houses — Segment eight — have over the years appealed for the construction of a bridge as during the rainy season their area becomes impassable because of stream flooding, making it difficult for them to link with shops, schools, clinics and main road to town.
During the rainy season, residents in the suburb have constantly failed to access the main road connecting Cowdray Park with the Hlalani Kuhle section leading to enterprising young men taking advantage of the situation by carrying people on their backs to cross the streams for a fee.
Bulawayo City Council town clerk, Mr Christopher Dube confirmed that work on the bridge had already started and was expected to be done before the start of the rainy season.
“Yes, there is something like that. I can confirm that construction of the bridge has commenced through funding from the Government, part of the money will also be used towards sewer reticulation within the suburb, however, you can call our director of engineering services (Engineer Simela Dube) for more details,” said Mr Dube.
Contacted for comment, Eng Dube said the funding was coming through the Government’s Public Sector Investment programme, revealing that in actual fact the local authority had received a total of $4 million which will all be channelled to Cowdray Park.
“$3 million will be channelled towards the construction of the bridge and the access road. Actually the construction of the bridge has already started, with the contractor already on site, our projection is that the bridge will be completed by the start of the rainy season.
“The other $1 million will be used to procure materials for the installation of sewerage pipes. As you know we are in the process of installing sewer reticulation which was not there when the suburb was established,” said Eng Dube.
Cowdray Park councillor, Kidwell Mujuru applauded the move saying the construction of the bridge would go a long way in addressing a problem that has been at the centre of residents’ outcry.
“It is now a known fact that year in, year out our residents have to face this problem of the flooded access road. Some people were now joking that Cowdray Park is not part of Bulawayo. The construction of the road will therefore address the issue of accessibility and ease residents’ travelling during the rainy season.
“It is now our hope that the contractor will now stick to the set time frames so that by the time the rainy season commences the bridge will at least be up. Let us not forget that this bridge will also be used by schoolchildren travelling to their respective schools as there are no schools at the Hlalani Kuhle section,” said Clr Mujuru.
When a Sunday News crew visited the construction site yesterday, workers were busy at the site with the contractor, Mr Mkhululi Nyathi of the Bulawayo Housing Consortium Trust saying they expected to finish the bridge construction by end of October.
“We expect to have completed this project by end of October, already we are 50 percent through in terms of preparing the base, we will be starting the laying of the culverts, in between they need a total of 44 days to be ready then we put the slab which will take about 21 days.
“Our major challenge thus far is that of financial resources but all things being equal, the money being there, we will definitely finish this project by end of October to ensure that the bridge is ready before the start of the rainy season,” said Mr Nyathi.