Five tollgates located near cities and towns will be moved further away to ease the financial burden on motorists living in peri-urban areas who have to pay road tolls twice daily on their way to and from work.
Plans are also in place to upgrade existing toll gates on major highways to ensure they can cope rapidly and easily with the growing volumes of traffic and do not become a choke point.
Tollgates set to be relocated are Skyline, Dema, Lion’s Den, Umguza and Shamva.
By next month, the Shamva tollgate is set to be moved to the 40km peg along the Harare-Nyamapanda Highway while those that will be rehabilitated to standard levels are the Norton, Esigodini, Mushagashi, Mupfurudzi and Colleen Bawn tollgates.
Transport and Infrastructure Development Minister Felix Mhona, his Deputy Mike Madiro and officials from Zinara, the Central Vehicle Registry (CVR), Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe (TSCZ), Vehicle Inspectorate Department (VID) and the Central Mechanical Equipment Department (CMED) yesterday toured the Shamva tollgate.
The minister and the officials also conducted an awareness and clean-up campaign during the tour.
Minister Mhona confirmed that the tollgates would be moved further and Zinara was in the process of following the normal procedure for these developments.
“The main objective is to move these tollgates further out. When they were constructed, there were no communities that were nearby. But now more people have constructed houses near them and hence there is need to move them out further,” he said.
He said many people were complaining about the location of the tollgates since they had to drive through them daily.
Zinara chief executive officer Mr Nkosinathi Ncube said Zinara would fund the reconstruction, rehabilitation and relocation of the tollgates.
“Shamva will be one of the tollgates that the Ministry of Transport will relocate and Zinara will come up with the funding. But as Zinara, we are the users of the tollgate so the key issue is that the lanes are widened so that motorists can pass through comfortably.
“We also want to use technology. We just don’t want to be expanding. There are a couple of initiatives that we are coming up with such as e-tolling which is already under process,” he said.
Meanwhile, motorists who evade paying toll fees by using by-passes and individuals who allow their private roads or premises to be used as by-passes are now liable to pay a fine of $20 000 following the criminalisation of such acts by the Government. This fine, which is set at level 5, go into Zinara’s road fund.
The same fine is applicable to those who block the road at tolling points or who commit actions that could block it or obstruct it. Smaller fines in the gazetted Statutory Instrument, vending and loitering around tollgates are now also prohibited and punishable by a fine of $2 000.
In the event of a breakdown or otherwise, any vehicle that remains at the tolling point booth or blocks use of any tolling booth for a period exceeding 30 minutes shall be subject to a penalty of the applicable toll fee for such a vehicle for every 30 minutes it remains blocking the tolling point or part thereof.
At law, Zinara, or the Department of Roads in the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development acting on behalf of Zinara, are now empowered to close by-passes within a 1km radius of the tollgate.