KWEKWE City Council management has been urged to remove patches of tar which remain on most of the city’s roads and convert the pothole riddled roads into gravel roads.
Speaking at a full council meeting, councillor Future Titora lamented the poor state of roads in the city and called on officials to grade the potholed roads.
“Our roads are in a sorry state and it appears we have failed to maintain them,” he said.
“I want to suggest that we convert them into gravel roads by removing the small patches of tar left on what used to be tarred roads.”
Most Kwekwe roads are in a bad state after succumbing to heavy rains which pounded the city in early January and council appears to be clueless on what to do next.
City engineer John Mhike, however, shot down the suggestion saying his team could still maintain the roads and restore them to some acceptable levels of dignity.
He said removing the tarred surface in favour of gravel would be taking the city back to the Stone Age period, which was not desirable.
“We can’t take the city back to the Dark Ages where our road network is gravel,” he said.
“We have not come to that level of failing to maintain our roads. It might take us time because of lack of resources and manpower, but the state of our roads is not that poor to warrant such an action.”
Mhike told council that Kwekwe roads had reached the end of their lifespan and simply just patching potholes would not significantly help keep the roads in shape. He said there was need to reseal and resurface the more than 1 000km of tarred road network in the city.
“The roads are old and have lived their lifespan and now it’s not going to help much patching the roads,” he said.
“What we need is to reseal them and apply a new layer of tar so that we are not fighting potholes every rainy season.”
Mayor Matenda Madzoke told our sister paper NewsDay that for as long as all vehicle licences were being paid directly to the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara), councils would find it difficult to maintain roads.
“We need to be allowed to collect a certain percentage of vehicle road licences, which we will use to rehabilitate the roads,” he said.
“If Zinara keeps taking all the money and they fail to allocate us sufficient funds to maintain the roads, we will have serious challenges because we don’t even have the resources in the first place.”
Currently, council is using gravel to fill potholes on most of its roads, but the dirt is eroded within days or hours every time it rains.