The New Development Bank has approved a R7 billion loan for South Africa’s toll roads.
In a statement on Monday (16 September), the bank said that the loan – which has been guaranteed by the South African government – will be used by the South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) as part of its national toll roads strengthening and improvement programme.
“The project is designed to improve key national roads in South Africa with the objective of reducing transportation costs in the country,” it said.
“The scope of the project includes rehabilitation of the pavement for the existing toll sections of national roads, construction of additional lanes to widen such roads, and rehabilitation of related infrastructure, such as bridges and intersections.”
State of South Africa’s roads
Speaking at a Transport Forum in June, economist Mike Schüssler said that South Africa’s total road network replacement cost is estimated at R2.75 trillion in today’s money.
“The average road needs to be replaced every 20 years. If we replace the roads linearly over 20 years, we would have to pay R137.5 billion, per year, for the next 20 years, the economist said.
“In addition, to grow the road network just 1% a year would require about R27.5 billion,” he said. This means that total road funding required from motorists, without any leakage from collection, would be R165 billion.”
Schüssler said South Africa generally builds cheaper roads than Northern hemisphere countries. However, constructed with less bitumen, our roads have higher maintenance requirements.
The average lifespan of local roads is about 20 years, which could be extended with good maintenance and resurfacing regimes.