The barrier along the M2 freeway is in a shocking state but has been long ignored by authorities. Picture: Denis Droppa

Johannesburg - Five months after highlighting guardrail issues on our roads to the Johannesburg Roads Agency, nothing has been done.

The Armco guardrails that run along Johannesburg’s vast highway and byway network - which are supposed to protect errant vehicles from medians, oncoming lanes, roadside fixtures, or vertical drops - are in a state of shambles.

When we highlighted the problem in an article in October 2013, an agency spokesman said that no contract was in place for the supply of guardrail material. Last week we contacted the JRA again for comment, after noting that the situation on our roads was only worsening.

We were told that fixing potholes after the recent rains was a priority.

However, the JRA has finalised a budget for guardrails and is currently in the procurement process for suitable suppliers. As soon as suppliers have been finalised – it did not say when – the agency pledges to start replacing guardrails on both the M1 and M2 freeways.

The agency also blamed the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department and the SA Police Service for their lack of intervention in the theft and damage to guardrails, bridge hand railings, fencing poles and kerb inlet slabs.

Like copper cable, these steel barriers carry a signficant value to thieves looking to recycle them.

Replacing one kilometre of guardrail would cost taxpayers about R194 000, it said.

More promising news is that the JRA has established a new unit called the Infrastructure Protection Unit.

Spokeswoman Bertha Peters-Scheepers said: “This unit is looking at theft and vandalism of all JRA road furniture.

“The agency is working with the JMPD, SAPS and private security companies in the fight against vandalism and theft. Through this unit there has been progress and a number of arrests made by both the SAPS and JMPD”.