Bulawayo (New Ziana)-The government should engage in public-private partnerships (PPPs) to construct flyovers at all railroad level crossings in the country to allow free movement of trains and reduce accidents.
Bulawayo Metropolitan Province Minister Judith Ncube said this during the National Railways of Zimbabwe Safety Week commemorations held recently.
“We have seen a marked increase in number of accidents at railroad crossings in our major cities leading to unnecessary loss of human life,” she said.
Ncube also urged the government to construct ramps before all level crossing as a short term measure to deter negligent drivers and reduce carnage.
“The construction of flyovers is a long-term solution and to achieve this, there is need for public private partnerships (PPPS). This is another project our province, NRZ and private sector can work as partners,” she said.
Ncube said the concept of partnerships for progress was not new, as the province had always worked with the NRZ on several projects to develop the city.
According to statistics released by the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe (TSCZ), this year alone, the country has so far recorded 6 deaths and 44 injuries from 66 accidents that have occurred at railway level crossings across the country.
Ncube also bemoaned the surge in cases of suicide along railway lines across the country and urged the public to seek counselling when they have social or economic problems.
“It is common knowledge that people are facing social problems but committing suicide is not the right answer.
There has been an increase in cases of people who throw themselves in front of oncoming trains to get killed since they know that locomotives cannot quickly stop on the tracks when brakes are applied.
From January to the end of August this year, at least 38 people had died after hurling themselves in front of oncoming trains in apparent cases of suicide.
The average freight train, traveling at 88 km/h, takes anywhere from 1 to 1 1/2 kilometres to stop whereas traveling at the same speed, the average automobile can stop in only 60 metres.