I was getting my usual news fix when I came upon an article on IOL that suggests that sand roads may be something that South Africans might have to become accustomed to. Last week it was water, now it's roads, what next?
The following article is reproduced from www.motoring.co.za.
The number of national and provincial roads in "poor" and "very poor" condition is more than double what it was 10 years ago and the number in "good" or "very good" condition is a third of what it was 10 years ago. These are some of the shock findings made in a new research report released by the Automobile Association of South Africa earlier this week.
The report, a review of road conditions and funding in South Africa, was prepared for the AA by well-known civil engineer and roads specialist, Dr John Sampson, and assesses the road network over the last 20 years.
SA's roads need R100bn to eliminate maintenance backlogs. South Africa has 596 000km of roads and the replacement value of the country's road network is estimated to be R1.047-trillion. "The findings are very worrying," said an AA spokesperson. "South Africa's roads need R100-billion spent on them to eliminate maintenance backlogs and current levels of funding are only a quarter of what is needed to maintain the country's road network into the future." The AA said inadequate road maintenance also resulted in an increase in traffic crashes. "The report shows that about 60 percent of national and provincial roads are in poor or very poor condition, compared to about 22 percent in 1998," the spokesperson added.
It goes on to say that the cost of operating a vehicle on poor roads is double that of good roads in terms of fuel, maintenance, delays and crashes. "Road conditions for the report were assessed using the Visual Condition Index which expresses the condition of a road from 0 (very poor, requires reconstruction) to 100 (very good). About 60% of national roads are in poor or very poor condition. The overall VCI for South Africa's roads dropped from 65 in 1998 to 46 in 2008. "The report clearly shows that, in the long term, regular annual maintenance that prevents road deterioration costs about a quarter of allowing a road to deteriorate until it needs reconstruction," he added. The AA called on the government to increase funding to secure the viability of the road transport industry and reduce the number of crashes. "The report states that we need R32-billion a year to keep our roads in good shape - 1.5 percent of GDP," he said. "This is far less that the cost of traffic crashes, unnecessary road reconstruction and losses by the transport industry resulting from poor roads." "If we don't get serious about road maintenance now, in 30 years we might not have any sealed roads left to maintain."