- Key areas of attention include road reserve maintenance, road marking, street-lighting maintenance, guardrails maintenance, and pothole patching.
Mbabane: The Ministry of Public Works and Transport in Eswatini is engaged in a road infrastructure maintenance programme with the objective of restoring the condition of the country’s roads to an acceptable state. According to the Principal Secretary, Thulani Mkhaliphi, due to the above-normal rains, the national roads infrastructure has suffered major damages and failures.
Mkhaliphi says the nationwide programme started in December 29, 2021, and contractors are expected to be completed by March 2022. He says “some bridges have been inundated with water and are severely erode at the edges making them completely impassable. The gravel roads top surfaces have been washed away and some roads are riddled with serious erosion and require extensive works to get them back to acceptable conditions.”
The controlling officer in the Public Works Ministry says “even the paved roads have not been spared as potholes are showing up everywhere and some roads are collapsing at culvert crossings. The collapsing sections are major economic roads linking the country with international borders which if impassable; the entire country would suffer heavily.”
Key areas of attention include road reserve maintenance, road marking, street-lighting maintenance, guardrails maintenance, and pothole patching. Some of the contractors were awarded their contracts at the end of the 2021 recess, such as the pothole patching works on the Mhlaleni to Mahamba public road. This has resulted in the start and stop of works, however, they will resume on 11 January 2022. Other such roads are the Mafutseni to Mliba and the Phondo to Bhunya road. Fixing of other roads with aggressive potholes such as Mbadlane to Lomahasha is planned to continue in the 2022 financial year.
Road infrastructure that requires immediate rehabilitation includes that at Mafutha along the MR3 (Ngwenya-Manzini) Highway, at Nkomanzi, at Maguga Dam, at Makholokholo along the MR3, near Eswatini College of Technology, sections of the MR 19, Mbabane to Mhlambanyatsi road, at Mnyokane along the MR32, along the MR 1between Motshane and Matsamo and the improvement of stormwater drainage the Matsapha traffic circle.
The Ministry’s heavy plant machinery is reported to be receiving heightened attention as it gets ready for deployment at various parts of the country. The nationwide gravel roads’ basic maintenance will begin as soon as the rains are projected to subside.
The Minister of Public Works Chief Ndlaluhlaza Ndwandwe will visit all four regions of the country to as he rolls out the maintenance programme with Regional Administrators and Members of Parliament.