THE Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality (NMBM) has launched a project on the tarring of gravel roads across various wards in the metro with an estimated budget of R83 532 950.The Executive Mayor, Mongameli Bobani, and Member of the Mayoral Committee for Roads and Transport, Rosie Daaminds, have initiated the first phase of the project in Maseti Street in Joe Slovo.“We are currently having meetings and saying to the community that this is what we are planning to do. The community is excited about this project and a lot of residents came out to see what we are planning. The value of works for Ward 41 is approximately R1.1 million,” Bobani said.The project forms part of the 100 days of the mayoral programme where township roads, some of which are in poor condition, will be undergoing upgrading and repair.In addition, the project is geared towards eradicating the backlog of roads that still need to be tarred within the human settlement areas of the metro. “It will benefit the residents when it comes to emergency services in the metro. When it’s raining, it is extremely difficult for people to gain access to resident’s houses because of the mud and rain. Now, that will be something of the past. Also, on environmental health wise, it will be much better in these areas. The police constantly complain that they cannot do their work because of the roads. That’s going to change now,” Bobani added. A total of R4 489 590,96 has been allocated to wards 33, 36, 37 and 41 as part of the first phase of the project.The metro’s total backlog of gravel roads is estimated at 778km. The budget allocation per annum is determined by the funding availability as well as the ward-based priorities determined in the Integrated Development Plan (IDP). “We are just busy gearing ourselves up when it comes to the backlog that we have for our roads in the Nelson Mandela metro. “We have a backlog of gravel roads from here to Cape Town. We have decided to take your ward as number one – to launch this project,” Daaminds said. However, the estimated budget of R83.5 million is not nearly enough the cover the 778km backlog of roads in the metro.Daaminds added, “We must think outside of the box and see where we will get people who are going to assist us in building our roads. “There is nothing else that can beautify our community and our townships. We must start with our roads.”For the upgrading of the gravel roads in ward 41, 15 unemployed local labourers will be appointed across the project. According to Kupido Baron, NMBM media management officer, the project in ward 41 is said to be completed in mid-December.