Zimile calls for an increased prioritisation of road maintenance for a safer and more durable roads
November 2022: South African-based engineering company, Zimile Consulting Engineers has stressed the importance of scheduled road maintenance for safer and durable roads and have called for increased prioritisation of road maintenance, especially on roads in rural areas.
The two main types of road maintenance include routine road maintenance, which involves the day-to-day needs of the road, such as filling potholes, patching, crack sealing, mowing, road shoulders repairs and the cleaning of ditches and culverts. The other is periodic road maintenance, which involves resealing and overlays of road surfaces and reinstating road markings and signs.
“The current practice prioritises road maintenance according to usage – the more a road is used, the more regularly it will be maintained. While this process is not flawed, more focus should be directed towards roads outside of the national road system to ensure that it also remains safe and usable,” says Ntsika Mhlanga, Route Manager at ZCE.
“While our national roads are prioritised and well maintained, routine and periodic maintenance of the rural road infrastructure requires more attention. More planning is required to ensure that rural roads receive the required maintenance. With Zimile’s experience and skills in road infrastructure, we can assist provincial governments as well as local municipalities in planning and scheduling routine maintenance activities. Proper planning will help reduce the growing maintenance backlog that results in major maintenance and that remains a challenge in most provinces.”
Mhlanga proposes a system where each road data is captured, tracked per maintenance period and maintenance activities are scheduled based on the need of each road to ensure design and construction life span are maintained while the roads enable convenient travel time and safety to the users. In addition, he explains: “The system should be able to identify fluctuations in road usage and assign road maintenance schedules aligned to a budget and a plan. We can also assist provincial departments in planning and road maintenance schedules.”
He says: “We produce quality and inexpensive road maintenance without neglecting the maintenance on other roads. I call on fellow consulting engineers to consider safety and appropriate drainage systems in their designs to ensure safer roads with a longer lifespan.”
For example, in Piet Retief, Zimile is conducting routine maintenance on a road that is deteriorating rapidly, spurred on by heavy rain from KwaZulu-Natal. Therefore, the maintenance activities will increase the road’s lifespan while ensuring it remains safe to use.
Another example is the completion of a project at the International Airport, where Zimile rehabilitated the runways and taxiways using ultra-thin friction coarse (UTFC) products. “The UTFC products enable, among other benefits, efficient water drainage and adequate friction. We are very proud of this project because it showcased our experience to deliver complex projects. Zimile designed, planned, and executed this project with a strong focus on the safety and longevity of the runways, all while the airport was operational.”
Therefore, the increased prioritisation of road maintenance should lead to safer, durable roads that will improve the experience of all road users, Mhlanga concludes.
About Zimile Consulting Engineers
Zimile Consulting Engineers is a 100% black-owned, multi-disciplinary consulting engineering, project and construction management firm. By embracing the dynamism that is in the built environment through technological advancement, Zimile Consulting Engineers seek to offer value-adding and innovative engineering solutions to South Africa’s infrastructure landscape.