Quality of Johannesburg’s road network decreasing

9th November 2017 By: Anine Kilian - Contributing Editor Online

According to the Johannesburg Roads Agency’s (JRA’s) latest assessment of Johannesburg’s roads network, surfaced roads in Johannesburg that are rated as good or very good have decreased from 52% in 2013 to 45%, JRA revealed on Thursday.

Its latest assessment of the quality of Johannesburg’s road network has shown that surfaced roads rated as poor and very poor have increased from 27% to 32%.

Seventy-two per cent of gravel roads are also in a poor or very poor condition.

The assessment identifies and categorises surface roads that require maintenance, gravel roads that require upgrades and the reconstruction and resurfacing requirements across the city’s 13 599 km road network. 

“In terms of engineering standards, the roads condition index across the city has decreased from 89% in 2013 to 64% at present; this indicates a 25% increase in the deterioration of the road network condition,” JRA MD Goodwill Mbatha said.

Roads are still deteriorating and current funding allocated is inadequate to address the rate of deterioration.

“Annual budgets, therefore, require a greater fiscal investment to reverse the deterioration of roads and ensure a safe road network.”

Findings from the lengthy study will inform JRA’s budget and planning for the next three years.

The field work to capture data across the city’s network took about 12 months, followed by months of analysis and reporting to consolidate the study.

“JRA’s roads study, known as the Visual Conditions Assessment (VCA), is an extensive undertaking in which every kilometre of road is examined and assessed. 

“Johannesburg’s road network is made up of 1 168.53 km of gravel roads and 12 390.93 km of surfaced roads. The study also indicates that the total network has increased by 131 km since 2013 owing to new private developments requiring new access roads,” said Mbatha.

JRA’s total capital budget for 2017/18 is R1.21-billion, of which R247-million has been allocated towards roads.

The allocation is split into R147-million for resurfacing and R100-million for reconstruction.

However, owing to historical underinvestment in roads prior to 2013, compounded by deterioration as a result of environmental factors such as climatic conditions, increased traffic volume and percentage of heavy duty vehicles, Johannesburg’s road network is faced with a R7.1-billion backlog of which road resurfacing requires R4.26-billion and reconstruction R2.84-billion.