The Gwaing project is still in its construction phase with 65% works completed.
The main focus areas currently are the processing of the layer works, where the team will soon commence with the stabilisation process of the first lane, as material is currently being carted into the site from the approved source. Various other activities are still in process such as the improvement of the drainage network by means of laying new stormwater pipe crossings, which are nearing its completion.
The final completion date set for 18 September 2024.
Media release by Western Cape Government: Montagu Pass and Seven Passes Road
For Immediate Release
31 January 2024
There were unprecedented levels of flood damage across much of the provincial road network during the 2023 winter. The most severe storm took place over the Heritage Day long weekend, but this was by no means the only damaging winter storm last year. The Montagu Pass and Seven Passes Road are two of the Western Cape roads that had to be closed after sustaining severe flood damage during flooding.
The Department of Infrastructure’s (DOI) first responsibility concerning damaged roads is to re-establish access so that all communities that rely on a particular road are reconnected to the wider road network. Once access has been established, the order of repairs is prioritised. First, by the amount of traffic a particular road carries, and then by the road’s critical economic importance. Once access has been established, road users may have to use long detours or alternative routes until other repairs are possible.
Given the current resource constraints and following the need to prioritise the order in which road repairs can be made, DOI has had to prioritise routes that carry higher traffic volumes and that are associated with greater economic activity than the Montagu Pass and the Seven Passes Road. Despite our efforts, it is not currently possible to provide a timeline for the reopening of the Montagu Pass or the Seven Passes Road.
Initial repair work on Montagu Pass was stopped following intervention by members of the public and Heritage Western Cape (HWC). Since the pass is a Provincial Heritage Site, DOI first had to receive the necessary HWC permit before work could be restarted. Before permission was received to restart work, there was further adverse weather that caused the road to deteriorate to the point where it was no longer safe for public use and had to be closed.
Various processes then followed before work could be initiated. During this time, the road further deteriorated due to more adverse weather.
Currently, due to a lack of funding and resource availability required, repairs have been delayed. Repairs have further been severely impacted by the flood repair requirements across the province following more flooding. This delay is due to the damage to the road network during the 2022 and 2023 winter floods, most notably the Heritage Day long weekend floods in 2023. Despite the economic value of the Montagu Pass including its value to the tourism sector, this is not a critical route because an alternative is available (the Outeniqua Pass). Priority must be given to roads where there aren’t viable alternatives to ensure that communities remain connected to the broader road network.
HWC has engaged with various stakeholders on the maintenance and repair of Montagu Pass over the past few months with several meetings attended by representatives of HWC, DOI, law enforcement, and conservation bodies. A permit has now been issued to DOI by HWC for the maintenance and repair of the Montagu Pass. The main constraint to restarting work is the current lack of resources. As the Outeniqua Pass provides a viable alternative route, repairs on the Montagu Pass are not considered to be critical, given the prioritisation criteria provided above.
Allegations of problems with a contractor have been made in the public domain, but these are baseless. No contractor was involved in any work on the pass. The Department required heritage approval. The heritage approval processes did not previously prohibit maintenance on Montagu Pass and maintenance continued as normal work. Unfortunately, complaints by concerned groups in the area caused work to stop and meant DOI had to follow a Heritage Western Cape approval process.
The Department has been asked what it is doing to support businesses along closed routes. There are no businesses in the closed section of the pass meaning businesses remain open. However, the DOI does not have a mechanism or the resources to support businesses affected by closed roads, irrespective of the reason for the closure. This road is no different.
The work will be prioritised along with all other roads that were damaged by the floods, and the maintenance will resume as soon as the necessary capacity and resources, including finance, are available. This is likely to be done in a phased approach, based on budget and resource availability, with the priority being to restore some form of access, even if traffic is restricted to a single lane with stop/go controls. There is currently no prospective date for reopening the road soon. The pass will only be reopened when the necessary maintenance has been completed.
SEVEN PASSES ROAD
Seven Passes Road also sustained significant damage during the 2022/2023 winter floods. This road will be reopened once it has been repaired to its pre-flood-damaged state. This will take considerable time and resources during a period when there are severe resource constraints. Unfortunately, other damaged roads that carry more traffic and are more economically important are a higher priority.
During 2022/2023 there were significant slips on the road, most notably between Nelson Mandela University and Wilderness Heights, MR355. The damage was of such a nature that lane closures were implemented where the most notable slips occurred. Traffic was allowed to pass with applicable signage in place. The situation was monitored to see if this could be a safe alternative as an interim measure.
Unfortunately, due to the geometry of the pass and narrow road width, coupled with irresponsible road user behaviour, there was a high risk of crashes. The difficult decision had to be taken to fully close the road in the interest of road safety and to protect the asset from further damage.
The DOI has received information about cyclists using the route and distributing their own subjective reports on its suitability for traffic. When a route is closed, it is closed to all road users and for their safety. There is damage below the surface level that is not immediately visible. The DOI will not keep a route closed unnecessarily as it is in our interest to have every part of the broader road network fulfil its role.
The pass will only be reopened when the necessary maintenance has been completed as soon as the resources are available. Unfortunately, other damaged roads that carry more traffic and are of higher economic importance than the Seven Passes Road remain a greater repair priority.
We remain committed to reopening these passes as soon as possible to do so, given the constrained fiscal environment. We ask residents to please be patient and to work with us, particularly with regards to their safety. Both passes remain closed to all road users, and we ask pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists to all adhere to the closure of the road.
Media Release: Garden Route District Municipality’s Roads Services improves diesel infrastructure to ensure operational continuity
For Immediate Release
15 January 2024
Garden Route District Municipality’s (GRDM) Roads Services have successfully addressed decades of challenges related to diesel and infrastructure procurement. Last year, the GRDM embarked on a tender process for the procurement of diesel, however, complications arose as the existing diesel tanks and infrastructure were owned by the previous service provider, who declined access to the new appointee to use their storage facilities.
To overcome this obstacle, the Roads Services Department temporarily used diesel bowsers for fuel storage. Later, the municipality conducted a second tender process for the installation of above-ground diesel tanks at its four largest depots, in George, Oudtshoorn, Riversdale and Ladismith.
The tender, valued at 5.9 million for the tanks, was approved by the Western Cape Department of Transport and was allocated from the Roads Services budget. The above-ground tanks, each with a capacity of 23,000 liters, are currently being installed and are expected to be commissioned by the end of January 2024.
Once operational, the George depot will receive two (2) tanks with a combined capacity of 46,000 liters, sufficient to fuel the different depots for three weeks. The other deport will each be equipped with one (1) 23,000 liters above-ground tanks.
This initiative is part of phase 1 of the GRDM’s plan to upgrade and install diesel storage infrastructure, with future rollouts planned for the smaller depots as well. The decision to replace the more than 30-year-old Total diesel tanks, which were decommissioned due to leaks, brings several advantages. The above-ground tanks are cost-effective, have a longer lifespan, are easy to monitor, versatile, safer, and environmentally friendly.
Feature image caption: George will have two above-ground diesel tanks, while the other three depots will have one each.
Media Release: GRDM Roads team praised for excellent work on major projects
For immediate release 07 November 2023
Over the last few months, the Garden Route district experienced severe weather conditions which left a few roads in a poor state for use by road users. Some roads were closed due to the severity of the damage and other roads were repaired and are in use again. These roads are managed and maintained by the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) Roads Services Department, as agent of the Western Cape Department of Infrastructure.
In support of Transport Month that was celebrated across the country in October last month and due to the progress of the repair work by GRDM Roads Services, councillors, management and staff, last week, 30 October 2023, visited two sites to view the progress made. One of the roads is the Saasveld road, where an armco failure on the Madiba Road occurred that collapsed the road to 8 metres deep. The road is now completed and fully repaired. The team further visited the Gwaiing road (DR1618), situated near the George airport to witness the road works of the upgrade project.
Visit to Saasveld Road
During the visit to the Saasveld Road, GRDM Manager for Maintenance, Construction and Mechanical Services, Japie Strydom, explained that the steel pipe that was constructed during the 1950s failed because steel on its own was not successful. GRDM in 2021 then constructed a new pipe with a combination of concrete and steel. Strydom further explained that the road serves as detour for the national road and is frequently used by students, tourists and cyclists. During construction, the detour was via the N2 and Wilderness to Saasveld, leading to NMU. This is a 20km longer road to travel compared to the Madiba Drive route. The GRDM is now keeping the road safe for the students at Nelson Mandela University. For this reason, “students would not need to use the Wilderness Road anymore, when they need to get into town,” Strydom said. Brand new guardrails were also installed. This project cost was R5.6 million.
Strydom further explained that future projects similar to this project, which is 0.6, 1.2, 2.9 and 3 km in distance from this project, as well as a site in Wilderness, are still in design phase and said: “It is envisaged that those projects will commence in August/September next year”. He concluded by echoing the words of the Municipal Manager, Monde Stratu who said: “As a collective, we are stronger”. In addition he said: “We don’t do this just for us and to make it safer, but we are doing this for the future”.
GRDM Portfolio Chairperson for Roads, Ald. Petru Terblanche, praised the Roads team and said: “Every one of you are winners, leaders, the first on the road as well as the last one on the road”. With these words he commended the team for their dedication in realising the objectives of their road construction projects. Terblanche furthermore summed up a few challenges experienced by GRDM, such as a lack of gravel. Consequently, after discussions with the MEC of Infrastructure in the Western Cape, he said that the total of borrow pits increased from three to 13 borrow pits. Terblanche also complimented the team for managing and handling the yellow fleet well. When he referred to the neatness and the overall condition of the vehicles, he highlighted: “I feel proud of the team when I see our machines and vehicles on the road and because of your excellence I’m am very proud to be part of GRDM’s Roads Services Department”.
Visit to Gwaiing Road Project
On arrival at the Gwaiing Road, Strydom and the GRDM Senior Roads Engineering Technician, Chesney Roelf, explained the type of upgrade work that has been done so far. Strydom said: “Proper drainage has been put in, as well as proper layer works and a permanent bitumen road surface. These will change the traffic flow on the road”, he explained. In total 4km of the road will be upgraded with the cost of R16.5 million per kilometer.
The project also created learning and skills development opportunities for final cutters. In explaining his statement, he said: “Across the world there are only a few final cutters that can work with a grader that is capable of cutting a road surface to a final level, to proceed with construction”. Additionally, Strydom also mentioned that 44 Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) workers were appointed to assist on the project of which 24 already underwent accredited NQF training funded by the Trisano program. One (1) EPWP has now been permanently appointed by the GRDM Roads Department. This is evident that apart from creating a new road, Strydom said “we are also creating opportunities for people to develop themselves”.
Monde Stratu, during the visit, praised the team for their excellent work ethic and dedication. Stratu used the South African rugby team who was crowned at the 2023 World Cup champions as an example when he said that results can only be achieved by team members that work together as one.
In closing, Cllr Jobieth Hoogbaard, GRDM’s Portfolio Chairperson for Property Management and Development, shared his words of appreciation to the Roads Department and their Executive Manager John Daniels, Ald. Terblanche and the Municipal Manager for continuously delivering outstanding work and for allowing them as councillors to witness roads projects that bring significant improvement to the lives of those affected by the road damages.
The project with an overall project cost of R69 million has a duration of 18 months and the road is envisaged to be opened by mid-year to the end of next year.
Feature Photo: GRDM Councillors, Management and staff during the site visits to Saaveld and Gwaiing roads.
Public Notice: Stop-Go Controls: On Brenton-on-Sea and Barrington Roads
1 November 2023
Stop-go controls will be implemented along sections of the Brenton-on-sea Road and Barrington Road between: November 2023 and 14 December 2023
We urge the public to be patient during this time
Lane closures are required for the purposes of undertaking repair work to the roads. Two-way traffic will be maintained by means of a stop-go system which should cause a delay of between 10 minutes and 20 minutes per trip. The public will be kept informed timeously if there are any changes in the traffic accommodation such as temporary road closures.
The safety and convenience to the travelling public are of utmost importance and every effort will be made to ensure that all temporary road signs, cones, flag people and speed controls are maintained and are effective, and that courtesy is extended to the public at all times. The Contractor is required to make use of approved methods to control the movement of his equipment and vehicles so as not to constitute a hazard on public roads.
The Public, when using the affected roads, is requested to be patient, exercise caution, to travel at reduced speed, obey the permanent and the construction related temporary traffic signage and heed the guidance of the stop-go operators and flag people. This is for the safety of all.
The Western Cape Government is working hard to maintain our roads. Please drive carefully during this period of construction. Let us work together to ensure that our roads are safe. BETTER TOGETHER.
Media Release: Fencing subsidies available – call for applications
For Immediate Release 21 June 2023
On an annual basis, Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) provides fencing subsidies for a selected number of landowners on neighbouring provincial rural roads with fencing of their properties.
This is subject to a budget as received from the Western Cape Government.
The funding will only be applicable on a subsidy basis. It effectively means that 60% subsidy will be contributed towards the cost of the fencing. The subsidy is determined by an average price for material. The material is deemed as 60% of total cost. Labour cost is deemed as 40% of the total cost and must be carried by the applicant. All initial costs must be carried by the applicant and subsidy will be paid out after the successful completion of the fence. For more information refer to the Fencing Subsidy Policy of Garden Route District Municipality.
The new fences must adhere to the specifications of the Provincial Government of the Western Cape: Roads Infrastructure Department. Minimum specifications will be made available to successful applicants.
Application forms can be obtained from Mr Qamani Nkebana or Mr Lungisa Qendu at the Roads Transport & Planning Department. Contact numbers at the office is 044 803 1506 / 044 803 1577 or email Qamani@gardenroute.gov.za / Lungisa@gardenroute.gov.za. Alternatively download from www.gardenroute.gov.za .
Application period: 29 June 2023 to 14 July 2023.
Applications will be audited and evaluated according to risk analysis by a panel. Risk factors include: Status of road, traffic count, operating speed of vehicles, type of farming, condition of current fence, etc
The panel outcome will be decided by 15 August 2022. All applicants will be informed. A fencing subsidy contract will be signed with successful applicants. Unsuccessful applicants can apply again in the next financial year.
All fences must be fully completed by 30 November 2023 for payment before 28 February 2024.
Payment will be done after an inspection and an approval for the fence has been made.
Media Release: Update two (2): Gwaing Road (DR1618) Rehabilitation on schedule
For Immediate Release 15 May 2023
The R67 million Gwaing Road (DR1618) rehabilitation is progressing smoothly and remains on track for completion by June 2024. The budget for this project was allocated by the Western Cape Government (WCG). Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) continues its function through an Agency Agreement for the WCG and remains committed to delivering critical regional road infrastructure projects as planned.
A site inspection visit was conducted today, 15 May 2023 by WCG Minister of Infrastructure, Tertuis Simmers with the GRDM Executive Mayor, Alderman Memory Booysen, George Executive Mayor Ald. Leon van Wyk and other representatives from Provincial and Local Governments. Findings were positive with Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) workers and municipalities working towards common goals of completing a world-class road within the planned budget and on schedule.
According to John Daniels, GRDM Executive Manager for Roads Services, “a team of 70 employees are working on the project, with 44 of them being employed under the EPWP”. Simmers also took time to engage with the EPWP workers and to hear what their needs were. He was subsequently briefed during a walk-about on the DR1618 by Chesney Roelf, GRDM Senior Engineering Technician about the progress of the project.
Simmers boasted about projects of nearly R500 million that were completed in the Western Cape months ahead of schedule, of which one will be officially handed over by July and the other towards the end of November 2023.
“The WCG has exceeded all our Full-Time Equivalent EPWP targets and plans to push for more EPWP workers to be upskilled going forward,” said Simmers.
Chesney Roelf, during the walkabout, said: “As of now, we are focused on erecting new fencing along the project site and busy with the first of four road layer works. The GRDM is also constructing the roadbed, and upgrading the storm-water network. The road will be 6,8m bituminous surfaced width, ideal for commercial agricultural transport.” Simmers alluded to the impact of commercial Agricultural transportation on such roads and it was confirmed by Daniels that the road layers will include cement and bitumen mixes that are flexible to provide structural strength.
Roelf also explained that GRDM is installing 27 pipe crossings with concrete headwalls to ensure effective stormwater management. This was in response to George Municipality’s Executive Mayor, Ald. Leon van Wyk, pointing to the importance of proper stormwater management. GRDM will upgrade stormwater drainage channels.
“At specific sections of the project, concrete-lined drains will be implemented to enhance drainage efficiency and prevent water-related issues,” said Roelf.
WCG and the GRDM sincerely appreciate the public’s patience and understanding as it works diligently to upgrade the road infrastructure.
Feature Image caption: John Godfrey Daniels, GRDM Executive Manager for Roads Services, answered several questions from WCG Minister Tertuis Simmers (right), and George Executive Mayor, Ald. Leon van Wyk (middle). With them is Ald. Memory Booysen, who expressed his satisfaction with the progress of the project.
Afrikaanse Opsomming: Opdatering twee (2): Gwaingweg (DR1618) Rehabiltasieprojek op skedule
Die Gwaingweg (DR1618)-rehabilitasieprojek, met ‘n begroting van R67 miljoen, vorder goed en sal na verwagting teen Junie 2024 voltooi wees. Die projek word deur die Wes-Kaapse Regering (WKR) befonds en deur die Tuinroete Distriksmunisipaliteit bestuur (TDM) – die TDM voer die Paaie-funksie namens die WKR uit. ‘n Terrein-inspeksiebesoek is onlangs deur staatsamptenare, insluitend die WKR Minister van Infrastruktuur Tertuis Simmers en die TDM se Uitvoerende Burgemeester, Raadsheer Memory Booysen gedoen, wat hul tevredenheid met die vordering uitgespreek het.
Die projek het ‘n span van 70 werkers in diens, van wie 44 deel vorm van die Uitgebreide Openbare Werke Program (UOWP/EPWP). Tydens die besoek het Simmers met die UOWP/EPWP werkers gesels om hul behoeftes te verstaan en het ook die belangrikheid bespreek om hulle op te lei vir toekomstige werksgeleenthede. Die projek behels die oprigting van nuwe heinings, die bou van die padbed, die opgradering van die stormwaternetwerk, en die implementering van 27 pypkruisings met betonkopmure vir effektiewe stormwaterbestuur.
Die pad sal ‘n 6,8m bitumineuse oppervlakwydte hê, geskik vir kommersiële landbouvervoer. Die padlae sal sement- en bitumenmengsels insluit om strukturele sterkte te verseker. Addisioneel, sal beton-gevoerde dreine in spesifieke afdelings geïmplementeer word om dreineringsdoeltreffendheid te verbeter en negatiewe waterverwante kwessies te voorkom.
Tydens sy toespraak het Simmers die suksesvolle voltooiing van ander projekte in die Wes-Kaap, met ‘n totale waarde van nagenoeg R500 miljoen, wat voor hul voltooing skedule klaar was, uitgewys. Hy het die WKR se verbintenis tot die bereiking en oorskryding van EPWP-teikens asook die bevordering en opleiding van werkers beklemtoon.
Media Release: GRDM rolling out R67 million Gwaing Road construction project
For immediate release 13 February 2023
As the roads authority for divisional roads in the Garden Route district, the Western Cape Government Department of Transport and Public Works (DTPW) recently commissioned the upgrading and construction project of Divisional Road 1618 in Gwaing, George. Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) is contracted through an agency agreement to implement certain roads projects on DTPW’s behalf.
The Gwaing Road (DR1618) is situated just outside George, near Blanco and connects to the R404, a regional route that connects George with Herold’s Bay, and the R102, situated between the Glentana intersection and the George Airport.
During the project, a section of the road will be upgraded from its start at the R404 to km 4.44 at the R102. The existing 4.44 km gravel surface will be upgraded to a bituminous ‘tarred’ surface.
In addition, improvements will be made to the storm water drainage system, along with other activities. These include the construction of concrete lined side drains, the installation of concrete storm water pipes, and the realignment of certain sections of the road to improve drainage and road safety.
The project is estimated at R 67-million and will last 18 months, starting in January 2023. As part of the GRDM EPWP program, approximately 44 jobs will be created during the construction phase.
During the period of construction, temporary road signs, delineators, flag operators, and speed controls will be utilised to ensure safe use while under construction.
“Road infrastructure is a critical connector to economic, education, health and social opportunities,” said Tertuis Simmers, Provincial Minister of Infrastructure. “The Western Cape is known for the quality and great maintenance of its roads and we remain committed to this. We take cognisance of the inconvenience this project will have on the lives of our road uses and profusely apologise for this inconvenience. We would like to thank our road users for their patience during this time.” Simmers concluded.
Western Cape Government hands over Construction Graders worth R9.4 million to GRDM
For immediate release 26 July 2022
Last week, 21 July 2022, the Western Cape Department of Transport and Public Works handed over two Construction Graders worth R4.7 million each to the Garden Route District Municipality’s (GRDM) Roads Department. The keys were handed over to the main operators Phillip Scholtz and Andre Mouton by the GRDM Portfolio Chairperson of Roads and Transport Services, Ald. Petru Terblanche and the Deputy Executive Mayor, Ald. Gert van Niekerk.
This year to date the GRDM received three graders from Western Cape Government. The first machine was delivered on 14 June and last week the team took the brand new graders into acceptance. According to Gerald Sinkfontein, Deputy Manager for Mechanical Services at GRDM Roads, “the first machine was allocated to the Regravel Long Distance Team and it was handed over to the Main Operator, Adam Damons and back-up Operator, Andrew Mars. These latest additions will be utilised by two (2) maintenance teams serving roads on the outskirts of George.
GRDM Municipal Manager, Monde Stratu, at the event, said: “It is indeed wonderful to witness events such as today. We are always under extreme pressure in terms of the expectations for the maintenance of the roads, and these machines are remarkable additions to the plant that we already have”. To the Operators, Stratu said that not any person is able to operate a machine valued at approximately R5 million machine – “so you are the chosen ones”. Adding to this, Stratu extended words of gratitude to the WCG and for the support and the appreciation of the work that GRDM delivers. “We are proud to be the district with the largest fleet in the Western Cape and we promise to continue looking after the machines that we receive – your cooperation is important to us”.
Deputy Executive Mayor, Ald. Gert van Niekerk, highlighted that, “it is quite a proud moment to see the super tools of trade in front of us for the job that lies ahead with our roads stretching from Slangrivier to Bitou through to Kannaland.” Adding to this he emphasised: “Without the tools of trade it will all be in vain. Hence we are proud to accept these two (2) significant machines”. To all representatives present, including Marilise van Wyngaardt, Chief Engineer Mechanical Services at the WCG and Heinie Brand from Komatzu, he said: “We can assure you that the machines will be fully utilised in the best interest of the people of the region”. Van Niekerk also extended words of gratitude to everyone involved and present, for their efforts in the process.
Ald. Petru Terblanche, after witnessing keys being handed over to GRDM, said to the operators: “Looking at almost R5 million under your seats, you are encouraged to look well at each machine that is yours to operate.”
Heinie Brand from Komatsu, in closing, shared words of gratitude to the WCG and GRDM and said: “We have been fortunate that you had faith in Komatsu for having our machines on your sites and to put it into good work and maintaining your beautiful side of the country”.
John Daniels, a proud GRDM Executive Manager for Roads and Transport Planning facilitated the event in the presence of many other Roads and Transport Planning employees.
Did you know?
The Garden Route District Municipality Road Agency services an area of approximately 47 000 sq km. The area is divided into 15 wards that are serviced by 16 maintenance grader operators. According to the agreement with Provincial Government, a minimum of 10 000 km of gravel road surface must be graded annually. Where needed, re-graveling projects are undertaken and it is the Road Agency’s responsibility to rehabilitate the quarries where the gravel is sourced from. Each ward also has one maintenance team.