By ANELE MJEKULA
Work on a much-needed makeover of the 53-kilometre R67 route from Makhanda to Port Alfred will get under way next week.
This was announced by Eastern Cape Transport MEC Weziwe Tikana on Thursday, 9 September, during a meeting with councillors and stakeholders at the Makana Municipality Council Chambers.
The R167-million project is expected to get underway from next week and is due to be completed in 16 months, at the beginning of 2023.
The MEC introduced the Consultant, Gilgal Development Consulting Engineers, and the Contactor, Tau Pele Construction.
Makana Municipality Executive Mayor Cllr Mzukisi Mpahlwaand the Acting Mayor of Ndlambe Municipality Cllr Andile Malgas committed the two municipalities and stakeholders to work together to ensure that the multi-million rand project runs smoothly.
The key focus areas of the project are:
• Base and surface repairs to underlying existing pavement layers, where required along the route;
• Crack sealing;
• Filling of ruts along the route;
• Surface texture corrections;
• New surfacing consisting of a 14 mm Cape Seal in the urban and peri-urban areas along the route;
• Double Seal with 14mm aggregate and a layer of 7mm aggregate in the rural areas along the route;
• Painting of new line marking and installation of reflective road studs;
• Installation of new road signs;
• Repair and installation of guardrails;
• Construction of sidewalks and bus embayment at certain locations along the route;
• Construction of concrete-lined drains as and where required;
• Shaping of existing side drains;
• Cleaning of existing stormwater pipes/culverts;
• Fencing repairs;
• Bush clearing;
• Grass cutting.
Local Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) who attended the meeting were happy with the explanation given by the MEC and her delegation regarding the process to be followed in terms of the appointment and remuneration of SMMEs.
The Proposed Procurement Process of SMMEs, according to the scope of works, will be conducted in a ‘phased’ approach:
• Apply to Municipalities for lists of SMME’s databases;
• Shortlist SMMEs based on CIDB grading, previous works experience etc. from databases;
• Shortlisted SMMEs to tender on works packages;
• Negotiate rates before awarding;
• Award SMME Packages.
The project will create considerable job opportunities for residents in both towns and along the route. The MEC appealed to stakeholders at the meeting not to halt the project as this would cost the department more money in penalties resulting from the delays. “The only delay must be weather-related, not protests.”
The MEC also indicated that funds had been identified to rehabilitate the local taxi route (M Street) and that work should start in the second week of October.
Anele Mjekula works for the Makana Municipality Communications Office.