Saturday Star

Pothole Patrol set to fill gaps


JOBURG drivers will soon have one less problem to contend with when they make their way on the city’s roads.

In the next few months, the roads are set to be free of all potholes, thanks to a game-changing campaign launched by the City of Joburg, Dialdirect Insurance and Discovery Insure.

The trio this week launched the Pothole Patrol campaign, aimed at managing the repair of potholes across the city.

The initiative, which relies heavily on data analytics, started this week and will prioritise roads that are frequently used.

While Joburg has battled with a pothole problem for several years, the Pothole Patrol campaign believes they have a solution that will end pothole problems in the city for good.

“The Pothole Patrol will assist with the City’s pothole backlog in a unique data-driven initiative,” said Anton Ossip, chief executive of Discovery Insure.

“It officially began on Monday, and will prioritise roads that are more frequently used, impacting more users and thereby causing more damage.”

He added a smartphone app was also being developed so residents could report potholes.

While Ossip wasn’t able to quantify the exact number of potholes in the city currently, he knows they face an enormous task ahead.

“In Joburg, not a day goes by without a pothole encounter,” said Ossip. “While it’s difficult to pin down the exact amount, it’s safe to say that there are thousands of them.

“We plan on making a considerab­le dent in reducing the backlog and making our roads safe for motorists.”

For the last few years, Joburg’s pothole problem has become increasing­ly worrying, with potholes contributi­ng to hundreds of accidents each year.

“They are a major problem causing much damage and destructio­n,” said Ossip.

“This initiative will contribute to reducing the frequency and severity of road accidents across the city for insured and uninsured drivers alike.

“The insurers seek to align with internatio­nal road safety standards. This initiative supports the UN’S road-safety strategy, A Partnershi­p for Safer Journeys, establishe­d in 2019.”

Anneli Retief, head of Dialdirect Insurance, said the Pothole Patrol campaign would be working hard to ensure all potholes were fixed.

“It’s difficult to determine the exact number of potholes, however, what we can say is that we are all hard at work, and will continue this good work for as long as it takes.

“We’re proud to support the Joburg Roads Agency with this important initiative that we have no doubt will make our roads safer for everyone.”

She added the superior technology would ensure potholes did not open up easily.

“We are certain that our pothole repair technology is superior. In fact, many of the potholes that were repaired by The Pothole Brigade, an initiative launched by Dialdirect a decade ago, are still intact and going strong.”

Retief said an existing maintenanc­e backlog and the Covid-19 lockdown had added to the bad pothole problem in the province.

“This has caused ‘massive potholes’ across the province – thousands of them. We had to step up and step in to assist.

“We encourage motorists to drive right and, in turn, they can get cash back every month. But how can motorists drive right when our roads are deteriorat­ing. This partnershi­p is a win-win for all.”

Meanwhile, Joburg mayor Geoff Makhubo said he was delighted with the launch of the Pothole Patrol.

“We have no doubt that this joint initiative with private sector support is the boost we need to fix road infrastruc­ture in the city.

“We are confident that this is a game-changer in resolving the scourge on our roads.

“It is important to note that due to the vast expanse of the City’s road infrastruc­ture and the backlog created over time through various reasons including an increase in road traffic and worsening weather conditions, it may take time for a logged pothole to be repaired,” added Makhubo.

He said the aim was to improve the city’s road infrastruc­ture over the next 120 days.

“We have 120 days of accelerate­d service delivery, and part of that is to close all potholes and resurface where we can and to improve the conditions of roads,” Makhubo said.

He said the 120 days’ target aws an attempt to raise the standard of service delivery in the city.

“My colleagues know that every day in the next 120 days we are walking the streets, street by street, block by block – we are improving our roads and the state of service delivery in our City of Joburg."

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