The Executive Mayor of the city of Johannesburg, Herman Mashaba, has announced an R88-million mayoral intervention to address the pothole repair backlog throughout the city. “We are declaring war on potholes and prioritising the repair of failing road surfaces,” he says.
The following interventions have been put in place to address the current pothole repair backlogs:
- The City has provided additional funding to the Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA) in the 2016/17 Adjustment Budget: R60-million for materials and equipment for pothole repairs and other types of road maintenance; and R28-million to start to address the 40% staff capacity shortage in the road maintenance teams.
- A contractor has been appointed to assist with the repair of potholes while additional staff are being recruited.
- Pot-hole repair teams are working overtime to tackle the backlog, including on weekends.
“Together with the JRA, we are committed to improving mobility within the city through the provision of safe roads and infrastructure network. As part of this exercise, a city-wide inspection will be carried out in accordance with the use of JRA’s Visual Condition Index (VCI) criteria – every two years – to enable the scientific prioritisation of roads for reconstruction and resurfacing,” says Mashaba.
As part of this exercise, a city-wide inspection will be carried out every two years in accordance with the use of JRA’s Visual Condition Index (VCI) criteria to enable the scientific prioritisation of roads for reconstruction and resurfacing.
The 2017 city wide VCI inspection indicates that 40% of the city’s roads are in very good condition, 15% are in good condition, 15% in a fair condition, 14% in a poor condition and 15% in a very poor condition.
Through JRA’s integrated citizen communications channels, 37 450 potholes were reported between April 2015 and February 2017, of which 32 740 have been resolved. This indicates an 87.4% resolution rate.
“However,” says Mashaba, “the time taken to repair potholes does not meet the demand for a professional public service which is caring and responsive, and the JRA is working on improving the turn-around time for the repair of potholes.”
He points out that that pothole repairs are a short term fix to ensure the safety of all road users, while resurfacing and/or reconstruction of roads remains the long term solutions to improving the condition of the city’s road network.
“As an interim solution, roads that have deteriorated but do not meet the VCI criteria for prioritisation within the available funding will undergo routine maintenance. This will include pothole repairs and deep patching where possible, until roads are scheduled and budgeted for resurfacing or reconstruction.”
The Road Reconstruction and Resurfacing Programme forms part of the JRA’s 10-year Roads Development Plan to achieve targeted improved road conditions across the city by 2023.
The JRA is responsible for a total of 13 428kms of roads and according to Mashaba, the new administration in Johannesburg inherited an estimated R3.5-billion backlog for road surfacing and R2.3-billion backlog for roads reconstruction.
“While the current budget allocation for resurfacing and reconstruction does not fully address these backlogs, this administration is committed to progressively increase the budgets for these activities over time. On this point, I am pleased to state that we have initiated a programme of tarring roads in impoverished areas which have had to live 23 years into democracy with gravel roads. These upgrades will take place in Doornkop, Lawley, Mayibuye, Tshepisong, Protea South and Ivory Park.”
As he rightfully points out, road and transport infrastructure isn’t just a means of moving people and goods from one point to another.
“Road and transport infrastructure is a way for people to access jobs, a way for businesses to access markets and one of the ways we create connected and integrated communities. To have a thriving economy, you need a transport network which functions like a well-oiled machine. We will continue to commit more resources, better technology, newer equipment and better trained teams to respond effectively to all vexing issues.”
All this is like music to a transporter’s ears.