Only 6% of Joburg bridges are in good condition - JRA

Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba. (File, Jabu Kumalo, Daily Sun)
Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba. (File, Jabu Kumalo, Daily Sun)

The City of Johannesburg says it is facing a major headache, after the Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA) said that out of the 902 bridges managed by the City, only 6% are in good condition.

The remaining 94% need immediate intervention.

"The city is facing a R170bn infrastructure backlog. Do we have the money to address this backlog? I’m afraid not, but this issue needs our immediate attention. Some of our bridges are 60 - 90 years old, so we have a crisis in our city," Mayor Herman Mashaba told the media.

READ: Mashaba fiddles as roads agency burns

On Monday morning, Mashaba had an oversight visit regarding structural defects at Selby and Karsene Bridge on M2, where one lane has been closed due to the road sinking.

"We want to raise an excess of R50m to cover up for the shortfall. At the moment, we have agreed that there must be expenditure to this project and we will go to council if there is a need to adjust the budget," City Manager Ndhivo Lukhwareni explained.

Under spending on infrastructure

Mashaba said that although engineers first noticed the problem just over two years ago, the issue was only brought to his attention two weeks ago after the current 2018/19 budget was passed.

The mayor said there had been under spending on infrastructure since 1994.

"Go through the financials of the COJ since 1994 up until we took over. The maximum that has been spent on repairs was 2% and National Treasury expects maintenance and repairs expenditure to be between 8 - 10%," Mashaba said.

The JRA is confident that plans are ready and says they will begin implementing major rehabilitation works on bridges in October.

"The plan is to close as minimal roads as possible. The M2 carries over 30 000 vehicles and during peak you can get 12 000 vehicles per hour and therefore, because so many commuters require this route we have to come up with a traffic management plan," engineer Thomas Chongo said.

The JRA anticipated that this project would take place over a period of 12 months and was busy finalising the procurement process.

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