HomeOpinion & AnalysisColumnistsState of suburban roads demands urgent attention

State of suburban roads demands urgent attention


The billion-dollar question facing local authorities is what they are going to do about the state of roads in the suburbs.

NewsDay Editorial

The roads are in such a sorry state, it will take not only a strong will on the part of the city fathers to repair them, but it will also cost a bit of money.

There is not a single road in the suburbs that does not need attention. The potholes have enlarged to the size of craters, making driving on them a nightmare, without mentioning the depressing appearance visited on the neighbourhoods.

City councils are mostly to blame for this. Over the years, they have postponed patching up nascent holes and faults in the tarmac citing lack of money. This has led to the holes growing over the years in ways that have rendered most of the roads unnavigable.

The councils have also failed to enforce by-laws that forbid certain vehicles from entering certain roads. Suburban roads normally have a three-tonne prohibition, meaning any vehicle carrying loads above three tonnes should not be driven on them. But often one sees haulage trucks carrying thousands of tonnes of cargo moving along these tiny roads.

The result has been that the tarmac is weakened to the extent that it easily peels off.

Also, it is common to see fly-by-night electricians digging up roads and installing electric wiring in houses across the road. When they are done with this, they leave the gullies unfilled in, or, when they do, there is no supervision to ensure the resurfacing is done according to the requisite standards.

Not only should the city council forbid such unsupervised digging of roads, but they should ensure that anyone seen doing so is prosecuted because such electrifying of houses is not done according to approved plans and poses a risk to residents.

Power utility Zesa should also have an interest in this since these makeshift electricians are abetting power pilferage.

Commuter omnibuses are worsening the situation. The so-called kombis now run almost door-to-door stopping to pick up passengers wherever they are. City by-laws obviously forbid this, but the councils are not enforcing them. There should places designated as bus-stops. Any commuter omnibuses entering suburbs must be prosecuted or asked to pay hefty fines.

Residents are to blame too for what has happened. They lack the vigilance and forthrightness to report to council anybody they see destroying the roads. Often one sees haulage trucks packed at the house next door without anyone raising a finger. This allows transport operators to illegally use their houses as garages for their trucks. This is wrong and should be reported to council.

Residents also have become so docile they don’t demand accountability in the use of the money they pay in rates. When was the last time anyone saw a city truck carrying road workers in the suburbs? What do the city fathers do with all the money residents pay? Residents should begin to be more demanding on the councils for service delivery.

The state of our roads demands urgent attention. Not forgetting to mention the recently resurfaced highways that have already started giving in to bad weather. What with the “best quality” connotation we were made to believe.

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