The New Limpopo Bridge, one of Zimbabwe’s most successful projects under build operate and transfer model, is undergoing extensive facelift ahead of its handover to Government next month. The bridge that facilitates access to Zimbabwe’s biggest trading partner South Africa through Beitbridge will be handed over to Government next month after the expiry of its 20 year lease.
Finmat Construction has been contracted by the BOT operator New Limpopo Bridge Private Limited to give the bridge a fresh look prior to its handover.
“The bridge was built and started operating in 1995. We are the first construction company to move in for maintenance work on the New Limpopo Bridge,” Finmat Construction chief executive Mr Moses Matias said.
He said the renovations and maintenance work on the bridge included painting, drawing of road markings and fixing of faulty road lights on the bridge.
He said that it was critical that the bridge was well maintained and that Government receives it in good shape for it to have a long life.
The bridge facilitates cross border movement of people and goods between Zimbabwe, South Africa and the rest of the continent, supporting trade running into trillions of dollars annually.
“We feel honoured to be part of the project, which is a build, operate and transfer project to be handed over to the Government in June (next month),” he said.
Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Dr Obert Mpofu was recently quoted in the local media saying he “visited Beitbridge on a tour of the New Limpopo Bridge, which was constructed by Bulawayo Beitbridge Rail (Investments) on a build, operate and transfer arrangement with Government 20 years ago”.
Dr Mpofu said that the concession had since expired and that NLB (Pvt.) Limited was now handing over the multimillion dollar project to the Government
The Finmat executive has extensive experience spanning 25 years working for reputable construction companies in and outside Zimbabwe.
He has participated in construction projects in Botswana, Namibia, United Kingdom and Zimbabwe.
The success of the New Limpopo Bridge BOT will do well to engender more confidence in Government to embark on such projects targeted under the infrastructure and utilities cluster of the medium-term economic plan, the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation that covers the period from 2014 to 2018.
Zim-Asset’s infrastructure and utilities cluster has modest goals of bringing on about roads (700kms new, 500kms rehabilitated, 200kms widened and grading 4 000kms of rural gravel roads).
Further, Zim-Asset has targeted rail network (400km to be rehabilitated), construction of 10 dams and additional 450 megawatts of power (from refurbished existing facilities and new units at Hwange Thermal Power Station) among others. The BOT projects would help minimise funding constraints.