The safety of pedestrians is at risk due to vandalism of important infrastructure and the South African National Roads Agency SOC Ltd (SANRAL) is appealing to residents in and around George to report vandalism to road infrastructure.
SANRAL is appealing to residents of various townships and other role players in George to assist in putting a stop to the vandalism of road infrastructure along the N2 where safe pathways are being provided.
The purpose-built walkways that cost the taxpayer R43-million stretch over a distance of about 8 km along the N2 between the York Street Interchange and the Garden Route Mall.
These are designed to provide safe access for residents of nearby residential areas, namely, Thembalethu, Pacaltsdorp, Lawaaikamp and Ballotsview during the day and night.
Kobus van der Walt, SANRAL’s Western Region Manager, said: “It is a well-known fact that approximately 40% of all deaths on South African roads are pedestrians. They are the most vulnerable group of all road users and road safety is an important priority for SANRAL.
“The deliberate and wilful destruction of the network jeopardises not only the safety of pedestrians from the various communities which it is designed to assist but also the livelihood of a number of workers on the project.”
A key feature of the project is a new pedestrian bridge which has been constructed alongside the N2, allowing pedestrians and cyclists to move safely across the railway line at Meul River between home and work. It has also been damaged with fire, burning the rubber bridge bearings.
The project is beneficial to the community because the targeted spend on SMME’s working on the project amounts to R24.3m and the targeted spend on labour is R12.2m. The project sources local labour and at any one time about 210 workers are busy laying bricks, building walkways and erecting fences, amongst other activities.
The vandalism impacts a total of seven subcontractors which have been appointed to carry out different aspects of the work. They are only paid once the work has been completed.
Some of the infrastructure damaged includes part of a two metre high welded mesh fence erected along the N2 separating the pathways from the freeway. The destruction of the fence also allows stray animals to gain access to the freeway, causing fatal accidents.
Also damaged are the electrics housed in concrete poles on which 177 energy efficient LED lights will be mounted along the pathways enabling pedestrians to move safely at night to their homes.
Van der Walt adds that the rolling terrain makes the project more amenable to labour enhanced construction as heavy construction vehicles cannot operate in these conditions. This needs the use of manual labour to build the pathways on the steep slopes.
“This project has the added advantage of providing employment to a greater number of people from the George area,” said Van der Walt.
“I’m appealing to leaders of the local community to help put a stop to the vandalism of infrastructure which has been designed to better the lives of those living in the George area,” concludes Van der Walt.