There is an interesting article on the South African road network in the Financial Mail of June 1. Here are some highlights:
- It is estimated that 40% of the critical road network will reach the end of it’s structural life in the next 5 years
- The amounts budgeted for roads are increasing hugely (R2.1bn in 2005/6 to R11.5bn in 2009/10)
- More and more of this money is going to toll roads – more and more national roads will be toll roads
- Because all of the expenditure is coming at once instead of steadily over time, there are severe shortages
- This is expected to lead to a cost escalation of about 30-50%
- Regulatory approval is also proving an issue with some roads waiting up to 4 years for approval
All of this paints quite a scary picture. Then there is the fact that Spoornet is also not keeping pace (for instance road now carries 82% of freight between Johannesburg and Durban instead of the other way around).
Thank heavens the guys are putting money and effort into it now (there really are road works everywhere), I just wish they hadn’t left it so late. And while they are at it, put money into the power grid too…
That said, I know that we are not alone. Whenever I go to New York I am shocked by the state of some of their roads.