GOVERNMENT has resumed the construction of the 200-metre Simukwe River Bridge that links Matobo under Chief Malaba and Bulilima District under Chief Bango.

Engineers on site said the project is expected to be complete by year end or early 2023.

The bridge, whose construction started in 2019 before work stopped due to the Covid-19 pandemic, will bring huge relief to villagers and more particularly learners and teachers at Mambale Primary and Secondary schools who have for long been forced to miss lessons during the rainy season or fork out money to be assisted to cross the river, at the same time risking their lives.

The Second Republic has made a priority to build, maintain and rehabilitate bridges throughout the country under the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme Phase 2 (ERRP2).

The funds are coming from the Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara).

The reconstruction of roads and bridges is an economic enabler and a driver towards the attainment of the Government's Vision to achieve an upper middle-income economy by 2030.

It falls directly within the National Development Strategy 1(NDS1).

It is also the new dispensation's thrust for the country to have a well-developed, trafficable and safe trunk, rural and urban road network.

A news crew met workers on site who were taking measurements led by the District Development Fund (DDF) acting director, Engineer Goodwill Mapako as well as the Matobo, Mangwe and Bulilima area road engineer, Ignatious Musekiwa.

The engineer said they will soon be constructing bridge pillars, which involves blasting of the river bed followed by drilling of holes to erect bars and reinforcement steel.

"What we now want to do is to construct the bridge pillars, the ones that will be holding the decks.

"Construction starts with the basis, we have to dig deep until we find the hard rock underneath the river bed, blast and drill some holes to put the bars and reinforcement steel then we construct the base," he said.

"After the base we construct the pillars. We are going to construct a reinforced concrete bridge here.

"We have measured and seen that we are going to have six decks.

Right now we're checking the levels of the existing constructed structures from each side of the river, checking if they are in the same line and same level at the top."

Source - The Chronicle