Upgrade and maintenance of road infrastructure along the 385 km of the N1N4 is set to Kick off soon. Bakwena, a road construction and maintenance company based in South Africa, plans to execute upgrading and maintenance at a cost of US $84.8m. Upgrade and maintenance of the infrastructure is part of its concession contract with the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral).
An estimated US $23.2m will be spent on the reconstruction of the N4 in Groot Marico, between Vaalkop and the Swartruggens boundary. In fact the project, was awarded in mid-2017 to G4Civils, and is expected to be completed by April next year.
In order to improve the driving experience for motorists and commuters, the N4 westbound carriageway between the R512 and Buffelspoort interchange will be rehabilitated. The project scope of work entails overlaying the existing surface with a 40 mm thick new asphalt surface, as well as conducting a base layer repairs and gravel reconstruction.
The US $8.5m contract has been awarded to Roadmac Surfacing and is expected to be concluded by October this year.
Also the US $4.7m project to upgrade the R511 interchange is awarded to Raubex Construction. The project however, includes the provision of west facing ramps and is due for completion in February 2019.
Meanwhile, the second carriageway on the N4 between the M17 and the R512 (Brits Interchange) started in March. The estimated construction period is 36 months at a projected cost of US $49.4m and the contract is currently awarded to Raubex Construction.
Extension of structures
The project will include the extension of structures to accommodate the second carriageway, the realignment of interchange ramps to tie in with the new carriageway and a bridge over the Crocodile river all aimed at vastly improving road safety and traffic capacity.
According to Liam Clarke, Bakwena Commercial Manager, the poorly maintained roads impact negatively on South African communities and the country in general. They intensify isolation, poverty, illiteracy and poor health in rural societies.
“When road infrastructure is not maintained, it can constrain mobility, significantly raising vehicle operating costs and increasing crash rates and property costs,” said Liam Clarke.
He further added that deferred maintenance also held unintended costs. Neglected roads become more difficult to use over time, increasing vehicle operating costs in the form of frequent repairs and higher fuel use. This often creates an unwillingness by transport operators to use the roads.
“It also places an additional burden on the economy, as passenger and freight services are curtailed, there is a consequent loss of economic and social development opportunities, not only in areas directly affected, but in the rest of the country and across our borders,” cautioned Clarke.
However, Sanral estimates that repair costs are six times greater after three years of neglect and 18 times greater after five years of neglect. Regular upgrades and maintenance can, save the country millions of dollars in the long term.