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Johannesburg - Joburg residents should brace themselves for major traffic jams soon when about R2 billion will be spent repairing about 435km of major roads.
A Johannesburg Roads Agency study shows the percentage of road surfaces in the city considered “poor to very poor” has grown from 20 percent in 2008 to 30 percent currently.
Announcing the road resurfacing programme on Friday, City of Joburg mayor Parks Tau said he was excited that, for the first time in many years, the city now had a budget to repair roads properly instead of patching them up.
He said businesses and residents had complained bitterly about the state of the roads, especially in the northern suburbs, saying they had deteriorated because of the large construction projects going on.
“Now we have real money to spend. We have turned the corner. We are investing in a roads budget which will grow the city,” said Tau.
“A quality network is at the core of Joburg’s transformation. Future economic and residential growth will be concentrated along the major transport routes and our ‘corridors of freedom’.
“We are confident that this investment will address most of the issues and contribute to the rejuvenation of the city’s premier financial and commercial districts.”
The bulk of the funding will go on the comprehensive rehabilitation and resurfacing of roads.
“We are aware of the frustration of people with potholes and will be spending almost R80 million on patching and fixing cracks. However, the primary focus is the rehabilitation of the road network. We are not chasing potholes or quick fixes,” Tau said.
The city is completing a visual conditions assessment of the entire road network.
Road resurfacing was needed to preserve the existing “good and fair roads” before they deteriorated further and would cost more to repair in the long term, he said.
Tau said Joburg was also committed to the “complete street” utilisation of public roads.
This would include the provision of pedestrian traffic and cycle lanes on major road arteries, including the highway network.
“Although we are improving road surfaces, the city’s long-term objective is to move away from over-reliance on private vehicles. This is being done through the Rea Vaya, Metrobus, passenger rail and the Gautrain, as well as the promotion of non-motorised transport.”
The first phase of the resurfacing programme will involve work on more than 435km of road in all seven regions of the city during this financial year.
“Construction will result in short-term inconveniences for motorists and pedestrians, but we will try to keep them to a minimum. We will set up traffic management systems,” Tau said.