03 Feb 2017 - CHIREDZI - For many years, government has turned a blind eye on the pathetic state of Chilonga Bridge despite its potentially vast economic significance as well as its critical importance to people of the area.
The low-lying bridge, which straddles the mighty Runde River at about 100 metres in length, has been left in a state of disrepair since independence and is easily flooded during the rainy season.
The derelict bridge provides a very short link between the town of Chiredzi with villagers in Chilonga, Malipati and Chikombedzi right up to Sango border post.
People living in these areas endure untold suffering every rainy season with relatives being washed away at the flooded bridge or in homemade boats as they try to cross the wide river.
Children who attend Chilonga School are also using the makeshift boats to cross the river
The coast of travelling shoots up when the river is flooded because transport operators will have to use longer winding routes like the Daramakanaka, Mupapa to Triangle road which is at least 80 km long.
During the just ended holidays, more than five people were reportedly swept away in the river and they have not been accounted for.
An Isuzu Truck was also swept away and the driver has not been found.
Chiredzi West Legislator, Callisto Gwanetsa, said he had a problem with the transport ministry which is dilly-dallying on the issue despite its urgency.
"I and Isaac Matsilele (Chiredzi Rural District Council Chief Executive Officer) visited the ministry and talked to one Munodawafa, and they came to tour the area but nothing has been done," said Gwanetsa.
He also said he had trying to engage Tongaat Hullet and Malilangwe Trust to see if they can help.
If the bridge is upgraded and the 100 km stretch of road between Chiredzi and Sango border post is tarred, it would provide a shorter route to the sea thereby saving the country hundreds of millions of dollars that are spend yearly travelling to the ports Durban, Windhoek and Dar es Salaam that are hundreds of kilometres away.news