Joburg has opened a new factory which it says will help it fix potholes quicker

The Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA) has launched a new asphalt plant which it says will help improve its ability to respond to pothole repairs and the surfacing of roads within the city.

The newly built plant boasts increased capacity – producing a hot mix asphalt from an average of 80 tons per hour to 200 tons per hour.

“The plant can also produce cold, warm and hot mixes of asphalt; which increases the ability of the JRA maintenance teams to respond quicker to asphalt service defects,” the JRA said.

“It also has a dual burner that can use burner fuel and natural gas, increasing the use of green energy.”

It added that R1.2 billion had been allocated to the capital budget to improve the state of roads within the city.

Within this budget is an allocation of R250 million for road rehabilitation and reconstruction. In addition to this, the JRA has also budgeted R181 million for the rehabilitation of bridges in 2018/19, up from R49 million in 2017/18.

These targeted expenditure plans would go a long way in eradicating gravel roads, it said.

“This investment has not only allowed us to respond to unemployment by increasing the team numbers at the depot but also, with this upgrade, we hope to continue and improve on all our service delivery activities requiring asphalt,” said MMC for Transport, Nonhlanhla Makhuba.

Acting managing  director for the JRA, Goodwill Mbatha explained that the new asphalt plant will produce asphalt quicker and in a safer manner.

Backlog

In February, the city said that it was facing a R11.8 billion backlog required for the upgrading of the city’s 13,599km road network, of which R7.1 billion is required for repairs to surfaced roads and R4.7 billion towards upgrading of gravel roads to tar.

Speaking at the time, Makhuba added that the JRA was faced with an R81.5 billion 10-year backlog to address the city’s ageing road infrastructure.

This includes:

  • R11.8 billion for roads;
  • R2 billion for sidewalks;
  • R6.5 billion for bridges;
  • R61.2 billion for dams, catchments and stormwater systems.

“Based on the 2017 JRA roads conditions study, we are faced with a 25% increase in the deterioration of the road network condition, from 89% to 64%. The excessive damage to our road network has resulted in a rise in pothole reports and increased safety concerns,” Makhuba said.


Read: The most dangerous times on South African roads – and what’s killing people

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Joburg has opened a new factory which it says will help it fix potholes quicker