Frustrated residents ask for BCM assistance
BUFFALO City Metro (BCM) residents are becoming more and more frustrated by the dreary state of the city’s roads, from potholes to overgrowth with various suburbs experiencing a serious lack of upkeep.
“It’s embarrassing, our road is untidy and unsafe. The overgrowth has made it so difficult to walk on the pavement so children walking to school and people walking to work are forced to walk in the street,” Linaria Drive resident, Petrus Swanepoel, said.
The road in Vincent is just one of many overgrown areas that have seen pavements, road signs and even the road overgrown by bush.
According to Swanepoel, the BCM has been informed numerous times about the dangerous state of Linaria Drive, but very little to nothing has been done to rectify the situation.
Kenny Romans, fellow Linaria Drive resident, said: “I’ve been forced to start reaching out to the DA [Democratic Alliance] to sort out our road as nothing has been done. The BCM scheduled a cleanup for January, but minimal effort was shown. Our road is still missing proper pavements because of the overgrowth.”
Romans, who distributes the GO! & Express weekly, knows the city’s roads very well and said that overgrown roads are a problem in other areas too.
“It’s so dangerous, our road has so many bends and blind corners. Kids walking to school in the mornings are really not safe on that road, not to mention the potholes that already make it difficult for drivers,” Romans said.
According to these residents, the grass growing over the pavements was cut by BCM but the bulk of the problem is still to be addressed.
BCM spokesperson Sibusiso Cindi said BCM was aware of the state of the roads and the lack of upkeep.
“The City [municipality] is mindful of the critical role that the road infrastructure plays in our sustainability and ongoing development. And we also acknowledge that we have notable maintenance backlogs that are compounded by increased utilisation of the roads,” Cindi said.
“Over the past year we have done our best to ensure that roads are maintained to a suitable standard, in spite of having received only 35% of the required funding. We have gravelled a total of 140.5km of roadway, surfaced 16.8km and maintained 466km of road and storm-water infrastructure,” Cindi said.
Boeing Road in Alphendale is similarly affected, if not worse. The road has become narrower with overgrowth blocking road signs and access to the pavement. “Both sides of the street are overgrown and driving on Boeing Road is very difficult. It is a two way street, but you have to pass the road one car at a time,” Boeing Road resident, Henry Steenkamp, said.
“It’s really terrible and dangerous for everyone. It’s a problem all over Buffalo City,” Steenkamp said. “The bushy area next to our house is so overgrown that it covers the sign that shows there’s a speed hump there. There are already no pavements for pedestrians, meaning people walk in the street. Now with the road narrower, and cars having to squeeze past each other, pedestrians often have to walk in the overgrown area to avoid being hit by a car.
Cindi said: “Our Roads Branch is implementing the Ward Based Project, through which 10 volunteers per ward are assisting with pothole patching and storm-water clearing. A total of R340 648 616 has been committed to the upgrading and maintenance of roads for the current financial year.”
We can only hope that the Ward Based Project and the funding assigned to the upgrading and maintenance of our roads will yield a drastic improvement soon, before tragedy strikes.