Road repairs ripping apart

LYDENBURG – It has not even been a week since repairs had been done to Voortrekker Street and already the new tar surface has begun lifting and cracking.

This on account of heavy vehicles carrying chrome, and possibly because of substandard work. Residents were delighted when repairs to this dilapidated and pothole-ridden main road leading towards the Long Tom Pass were done.

However, a knowledgeable source said, “The tar was not stacked up. Instead, it was made level with the existing road. As a result, once the road is used, the tar surface sinks and hollows start to form. Come the rainy season, these cavities fill up and potholes appear again.”

Pothole repairs were also done. In the past couple of years, these roads have been used by chrome trucks that make their way through town. The roads were never built to handle the load.

Thaba Chweu Local Municipality (TCLM) said it has encountered many challenges as far as road maintenance is concerned.

“A plan was developed to appoint subcontractors to assist with road maintenance on an ad hoc basis, and to transfer skills to our municipal staff. “We have appointed two subcontractors, one of which started work on Voortrekker Street. The other will start on Viljoen Street, from the Dullstroom Road to Burhmann Street.”

 

TCLM said it is unfortunate that the roads had never been properly rehabilitated, hence the occurrence of potholes increased. “We are busy trying to remedy the situation by including critical streets in our rehabilitation projects in our IDP for 2017/18 going forward.”

The newspaper asked the municipality what was being done to prevent trucks further damaging the road. “With regard to the plan to divert trucks from the CBD, the only permanent solution is to have a bypass route. A proposal has already been tabled to Sanral. As an interim measure, a portion of De Clercq and Voortrekker streets have been handed over to Sanral for maintenance until such time as funds are made available for construction of a bypass.”

TCLM said another short-term measure was to lobby a budget for the R36 and De Clercq, Potgieter and Viljoen streets. “For those trucks making their way to Mbombela, it would mean avoiding Viljoen Street, connecting at Nedbank in De Beer Street before joining Voortrekker. This proposal still needs to be approved by the council.

“From a law-enforcement perspective, TCLM is reviewing the organisational structure with an aim of accommodating traffic warden officers to direct the trucks on appropriate routes for use. The recruitment process will unfold as soon as budget processes are endorsed by the end of May.”

The municipality said road challenges will be addressed by both the appointed subcontractors and the TCLM team. “All the main roads will be given priority and upon completion of this main road, the focus will be given to the internal streets.

“The operations and maintenance budget generated from revenue collection and equitable shares will be utilised to fund the above routine maintenance activities. The appointment of a roads manager in January was one step in the right direction for the municipality. The contribution of the road manager in the municipality is now yielding fruit, as this strategic project is being managed closely and owned by a reputable road and stormwater section for effective monitoring and evaluation purposes.”

Puleng Mapheto, communications manager of TCLM said it pays the contractor per square metre after the roads have been repaired.

  AUTHOR
Narda Vermaak
Journalist

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