New Beitbridge Bus Station comes to life
Thupeyo Muleya Beitbridge Office
The new Beitbridge border post bus station, part of the US$300 million upgrade of the border post and the city’s basic infrastructure, is currently being tested ahead of its opening next Wednesday.
The Zimborders consortium, in partnership with the government, has committed US$300 million for the entire Beitbridge modernization and upgrade program, which is due to be completed in April next year.
The initiative is being implemented on a 17.5-year build-operate-transfer (BOT) concession between the Zimborders Consortium and the government.
Under this agreement, the consortium will manage and maintain the infrastructure for the duration of the concession and will obtain a return on the capital invested through border toll charges.
Zimborders Consortium managing director Francois Diedrechsen said the project had been split into three phases to ensure the civil works were carried out without disrupting the border post.
These works include cargo terminal, roads and ICT facilities upgrade (Phase 1), bus terminal (Phase 2) and light vehicle terminal and out-port works (Phase 3).
“We have completed all construction works including ICT developments as part of Phase 2 of the Beitbridge border post upgrade,” he said.
“At the moment we are carrying out a test for these works – including the bus station – as we prepare for it to open on June 1 and I can safely say that we are on schedule. The training of border officials, the settling and relocation of the old building is in progress.
Mr Diedrechsen said technical issues were being resolved to ensure the bus terminal opened seamlessly.
The construction works of phase 3, which is the light vehicle terminal, will start next month and will be completed at the end of November this year.
“The first phase, namely the cargo terminal and ancillary services, was opened last year and we are on track to complete the project on schedule,” he said.
Good progress has been made in terms of civil works which fall under the off-port works, mainly the upgrading of infrastructure in the town of Beitbridge to support the facilities at the border post.
“It is pleasing to note that the civil works for the new fire station and the 11.4 megalitre tank are ahead of schedule. These will be completed within the next three months.
Other works include a quarantine facility for agriculture and animals, a new sewage oxidation dam, 220 houses for border workers and a fire station, among others,” Diedrechsen said.
The agriculture and animal-plant will be completed at the end of this year, and that pace had picked up on the housing estate scheduled for completion in April next year.
The new oxidation dam had already been handed over to the Municipality of Beitbridge to enhance its ability to deal with sewer reticulation issues.
“We have set different targets for the off-port work, and we expect to complete all of these projects by April next year,” Diedrechsen said.
It is expected that upon completion of the civil works, the border post will carry five times its current estimated capacity of 600,000 travellers, 30,000 commercial trucks, 15,000 buses and 120,000 light vehicles per month.
In addition, the improved facilities will result in improved border efficiency systems and infrastructure and it is also being constructed to accommodate the proposed One Stop Border Post between Zimbabwe and South Africa.
Among other things, inadequacies in the infrastructure have been attributed as the main stumbling block to the full implementation of the Single Window concept.