Two years after maintenance and construction work started on the Louis Trichardt/Thohoyandou road, contractors have yet to complete this almost R68 million contract.
After more than two years, the road works on the Louis Trichardt/Thohoyandou road have become an even bigger headache for local motorists.
A fortnight ago, the situation took a turn for the worse when at least six accidents were reported on Sunday, 13 May. Some of these accidents were less serious than others. In the days following these accidents, many residents blamed poor workmanship by the contractors for the accidents.
Off-the-record sources reported that the entire upper crust of the newly tarred road near the MBT Fuel Station (Border Motors) and Royal Macadamia separated from the bottom section of the road because of an apparent sudden drop in temperature.
The South African National Roads Agency (SANRAL), under whose jurisdiction the road falls, denied that a sudden drop in temperature was the cause of the separation. “SANRAL are aware of the crashes. However, it is always difficult [to] establish the exact cause of such,” said SANRAL’s general manager of communications, Vusi Mona, in response to the Zoutpansberger’s media enquiry.
Mona went on to explain that a report was compiled after 13 May and that it was discovered that “the last 5km [of] construction was distributed by rain, hence the stones and aggregates got loose.” He also added that loose gravel was found in patches of shadow cast by trees. How the shadows contributed to the loose gravel, however, is unclear.
SANRAL was also vague as to why it is taking so long for the current roadworks to be completed.
Construction on this project started on 29 September 2016. In April 2017, SANRAL was approached by the newspaper when residents complained about the project’s poor management of their road blocks.
At the time, SANRAL confirmed that they had tasked Quality Plant Hire (in a joint venture with Expectra 388) to resurface the R524 (Thohoyandou/Levubu road) from the N1 to Mahodlogwa (35.8km) and Section 2 from Basani to the Punda Maria Gate (34.6km). The contract period was scheduled for eight months and was supposed to be completed on 29 May 2017.
In their latest response, SANRAL said that the project was never completed as an embargo was placed on the project (with a project value of R67 730 409.60), from 1 May to 1 September 2017. This embargo, coupled with new potholes that developed and inclement weather conditions, was blamed for the delay. Mona said that SANRAL now estimated the project to be completed by 15 July this year.
Follow-up questions as to why an embargo period had been introduced were ignored by SANRAL. They also did not indicate whether a claim procedure existed that motorists can follow to receive compensation for any damages incurred as a result of the road’s condition. “SANRAL apologises for any inconvenience caused as a result. SANRAL and appointed contractors are doing our best to deal with the incidents, but we also appeal to motorists to be considerate when driving around construction zones,” said Mona.
Date:02 June 2018 - By: Isabel Venter
Isabel joined the Zoutpansberger and Limpopo Mirror in 2009 as a reporter. She holds a BA Degree in Communication Sciences from the University of South Africa. Her beat is mainly crime and court reporting.