Article on the state of South Africa’s road networks

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.