Going Potty in Jo’burg

Posted On Wednesday, 02 November 2011 02:00 Published by eProp Commercial Property News
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Do you remember all those promises about potholes in our roads being fixed at the beginning of the previous financial year: the homeless bathing in them; cars disappearing into them?

InfrastructureWell Jo’burg’s been getting the good end of the deal thanks to the Dial Direct Pothole Brigade that made a start in August last year.

Yes, the name sounds like something out of Monty Python, but there’s been no slap-stick here. Thanks to a partnership between Johannesburg Road Agency (JRA) and the said Brigade, 35 000 potholes have been repaired on Jo’burg’s roads. That’s a lot of empty space to fill!

To fix potholes, the Dial Direct Pothole Brigade has used an innovative Jetpatcher, which is a large articulated vehicle that carries aggregate and hot asphalt for patching up or repairing potholes.

A high-tech machine mounted on the chassis of a truck, it uses a high pressure compressor to blow out debris and water from the pothole. The airflow cleans out fissures in the hole to ensure that complete waterproofing is achieved. Then the aggregate and asphalt are blasted in.

Now that this successful pilot project has come to an end, the JRA will have to formalise procedures and incorporate the repair of potholes into a tender process.

The JRA is a Jo’burg City-owned entity responsible for the construction and resurfacing of municipal roads, construction of bridges, building and managing culverts and storm water drains, maintenance of road infrastructure, traffic lights, road markings and signage.

During the course of the project the following roads that have been patched: the M16 – Linksfield Road, M90 – CR Swart Road, M57 – Pretoria Road, R512 – Malibongwe Drive, M6 – Cedar Road, R511 – William Nicol Drive, M26 – Main Road and R562 – Olifantsfontein Road, to mention just a few.

The Dial Direct Pothole Brigade, is a special task force comprising provincial and local government departments and two private companies. The original intention was to deal with Jo’burg’s ever-increasing potholes. Its work was never supposed to be a permanent arrangement but rather to supplement the maintenance work already done by the Johannesburg Road Agency and the Gauteng provincial government.

Hopefully this will render redundant the guidelines on how to repair and prevent potholes, published by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) on its website. Surprised by the huge interest, the CSIR released its annual results in Pretoria this week revealing that  800 downloads for the guidelines had been made since they were first published in December last year.

The training courses on the causes of potholes and various repair methods for different types of potholes, held by the CSIR since February 2011, had also proved very popular. You have to hand it to the South African public for being proactive and enterprising.

But the merry hole-filling brigade has other fish to fry now and is moving on to the outer reaches of Gauteng. The specific areas are yet to be announced. But it’s going to be good news for somebody.

Sam Swaine, the media director of Heart PR, publicists for Dial Direct says motorists should now report potholes in JRA areas directly to the agency on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

However the brigade urges motorists who identify potholes on Gauteng roads to report them either online or by dialling *120*1551# from a cellphone and following the onscreen instructions or via the mobile site, potholebrigade.mobi.

The JRA will now have to resume its responsibility for dealing with eradicating potholes alone. The additional capacity through public and private partnerships has enabled the City to do so much more than it normally has the capacity to manage.

A mayoral committee member for transport was quoted as saying: "Believing in the importance of government working together with the private sector and civil society, we think that this partnership has enabled us to do even more in the interests of the citizens of Johannesburg."

Clearly there is some light at the end of tunnel for road maintenance in Jo’burg and let’s hope the momentum doesn’t stop now as the initiative continues into the rest of the province.

 

Last modified on Tuesday, 29 October 2013 11:36

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