The once quiet neighbourhood sandwiching Dawson Street in Yeovil, is now a trade corridor used by long-distance truck drivers carrying varying categories of consignments ranging from fuel, timber and shipping containers to mention a few to avoid the weigh bridge.
This street is an ordinary suburban municipal road as confirmed by the transport ministry. It has been reduced to a dust road by long distance truck drivers as the remaining tarmac patches crumble under the weight of the cargo it was never made to carry.
The Mutare Vehicle Inspection Department (VID) officers on a continuous and random patrol of the street on Wednesday pounced on the unsuspecting errant drivers who were issued with tickets for using an undesignated route and some in addition were fined for carrying excess cargo. Among them was a truck carrying gas and cargo that is inflammable and dangerous and not allowed passage in residential areas.
Some of the truck drivers apprehended by VID officers had loads exceeding stipulated weight calling for fines of up to $2 500. In a short span of 45 minutes, the VID officers intercepted five trucks among them the truck carrying the dangerous and inflammable gas cargo. Residents spoken to by The Manica Post are riled by the noise and dust pollution imposed on them by the errant truck drivers.
"It is unacceptable. We have complained to the City of Mutare but the council has done nothing. The road has been severely damaged and the clouds of dust lifted by theses trucks is a serious health hazard and making our homes dirty, we cant open windows now ever since the trucks started using Dawson. We signed a petition but council has done nothing," an irate Mrs Getrude Kufa fumed.
Another resident who preferred to remain anonymous, moaned about the safety of the street used by school children especially when two trucks use the road from opposite directions."I am really worried about the safety of school children. Of grave concern is the dangerous habit by some school children using this street, who jump onto the back of the trucks for a joyride when the trucks slow down to turn into Chimoio Street from Dawson Street. Mr Noah Kanjaira who now escorts his son to school everyday said the City of Mutare has let down the residents of Dawson Street.
"We submitted a petition to the council and the police but nothing tangible has been done to stop these trucks. It is true that some school children who use the road were waiting for the trucks and jumping onto the trucks for joyrides when the trucks slow down to turn into Chimoio Street from Dawson Street. I threatened to beat them up," Mr Noah Mukanjari said with grave concern.
Another resident also said the dust and noise pollution is unbearable. "Some of us do not have security walls and as you can see this house is next to the road. All the dust settles on the steps and enters the house and that is why we no longer open windows. Look at the wet steps, we hose off the dust everyday and that is extra water expenses to us. This is unfair," the home owner said.
A guest house owner in Dawson Street echoed the same sentiments about the dust, noise pollution and damage to the once "nice street" caused by the long distance truck drivers.
"This road is not meant for these haulage trucks and their heavy loads. The Government is losing a lot of money in fines. The petition the residents submitted to the council and the police has yielded nothing. Noone responded, both the police and the council. As residents we feel the money we are paying for rates is not serving us.
"The laundry we hang out to dry gets dirty. Our rooms are dusty even though the cleaners dust the rooms numerous times now. These trucks are making us lose business because of the noise and the dust. Sometimes you can even feel the house shaking as the trucks pass by. We have lost business because of these trucks," the guest house owner said.
Efforts to get a comment from the Council were fruitless at the time of going to print. Contacted for comment, Inspector Kakowa said the police was not aware that the trucks were using the undesignated route. "I will find out and get back to you," he said.
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