File picture: Itumeleng English / Independent Media.

Johannesburg executive mayor, Herman Mashaba, on Tuesday launched a R88 million project to address the pothole repair backlog in the city.

Addressing the launch in Ivory Park, Midrand, Mashaba said the City had provided R88 million additional funding to the Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA) in the 2016/17 Adjustment Budget. At least R60 million would be for materials and equipment for pothole repairs while R28 million would address the 40 percent staff capacity shortage in the road maintenance teams.

Mashaba said in a statement that the JRA was working on improving the turn-around time for the repair of potholes as the time taken to fix them did not meet residents' demand for a professional public service. 

"Together with JRA, we are committed to improving mobility within the city, through the provision of safe roads and infrastructure network," Mashaba said. "As part of this exercise, a city-wide inspection will be carried out in accordance with the use of JRA's VCI criteria, every two years, to enable the scientific prioritisation of roads for reconstruction and resurfacing." 

JRA is responsible for a total of 13 428 km of roads. There is an estimated R3.5 billion backlog for road surfacing and R2.3 billion backlog for roads reconstruction. 

Mashaba said as an interim solution, roads that have deteriorated but do not meet the VCI criteria for prioritisation within the available funding would undergo routine maintenance. This would include pothole repairs and deep patching where possible, until roads are scheduled and budgeted for resurfacing or reconstruction. 

Mashaba said he has initiated a programme of tarring roads in impoverished areas like Doornkop, Lawley, Mayibuye, Tshepisong, Protea South and Ivory Park.

"Road and transport infrastructure isn't just a means of moving people and goods from one point to another," Mashaba said. "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." 

African News Agency (ANA)