Zim, Zambia to reopen Vic Falls bridge

The governments called on the immigration and revenue authority departments on both sides to ensure that trucks weighing 56 tonnes are barred from crossing the bridge to extend its life span.

Speaking during the re-opening ceremony, Zimbabwe’s Deputy Minister of Communications, Hubert Nyanhongo, called for the introduction of toll gates to raise funds to sustain and maintain the bridge.

He said the bridge was of economic

importance to the Southern African Development Community as it provided for a free flow of traffic which would also cement relations between the two countries. Nyanhongo also commended Emerge Railway Properties (ERP), a company jointly owned by the two countries, for repairing the bridge, saying this would add to the life span of the bridge, which clocked 100 years last year.

Zambia’s southern province Minister, Alice Simango, said the life span of the bridge would depend on the vigilance of officers and that repair works did not guarantee that the bridge would last for another 100 years.

She said the two governments would still engage in consultations to source for more funds so that the structure could last another 100 years.

There would be need to reconstruct the bridge in the long-run, she said, and urged ERP to implement fund-raising measures. The re-opening of the bridge comes as a relief to motorists since its closure had resulted in congestion at Kazungula and Chirundu border posts and would also facilitate smooth trade between the two countries, Simango said.

She called for efficient clearing of vehicles by the ZRA and Zimbabwe Revenue Authority to avoid subjecting people to long hours of waiting. ‘ Zanis-New Ziana.

June 2006
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