REPAIRS are underway after heavy rains caused extensive damage to tar and gravel roads across the Kouga region last week.
“The rain was a blessing, but it also had a devastating impact on our roads,” said Executive Mayor Horatio Hendricks.
The Mayor joined road repair teams at Jeffreys Bay and Humansdorp this past week to assess the extent of the damage and determine how repairs could be fast-tracked.
“What we found is that the municipality has enough tar in stock but not enough road staff to complete repairs within a reasonable time,” Hendricks said.
“We will, therefore, be appointing a contractor to handle some of the work and have also requested additional manpower through the Community Works Programme to strengthen our road teams and to speed up repairs.”
He said the damage was made worse by years of neglect by previous Councils to maintain the region’s internal road network.
“The lifespan of a road is only about 20 to 25 years, then it has to be rebuilt. Roads also have to be resealed at least once every seven years.
“Most roads in Kouga are far older than 25 years and have never been resealed.
“This means that the entire road network actually needs to be rebuilt and that filling potholes is simply a temporary fix for a far more serious problem.”
Speaker Hattingh Bornman, who joined the Mayor for the oversight visit, said securing external funding to upgrade Kouga’s roads was essential.
“It costs about R4,5 million to build one kilometre of road. The municipality simply does not have the budget to rebuild the entire network.
“We are, therefore, exploring all avenues to source funding for a long-term solution to Kouga’s road problem,” he said.
The Mayor said the condition of gravel roads was also a matter of great concern.
“Our current budget is very limited; hence, our immediate focus will be on grading the main gravel roads.
“We expect to be able to release more funding for gravel roads in February, at which time the municipality will expand the repair programme.”