JRA talks plan to build bridges

High Bridge in Buccleuch.

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Midrand Reporter

Rehabilitation works are scheduled for the high bridge in Buccleuch.

The Johannesburg Road Agency (JRA) engaged with the Buccleuch residents and ratepayers’ association on October 17 with JRA’s plans to rehabilitate the high bridge in Buccleuch.

JRA’s representative Yonela Mdubeki was joined by Buccleuch ward councillors Dimakatso Moloisane (Ward 32) and Lori Coogan (Ward 109) for the information-sharing session at Buccleuch Primary School that evening.

Mdubeki presented information detailing Project JRA/22/125, which intends to work on the rehabilitation of the Buccleuch Drive bridge and the Juskei River in Region E. Both bridges connect to the two communities between Midrand and Sandton.

JRA spokesperson Bertha Scheepers explained why the Buccleuch Drive high bridge has taken precedence over the problematic low bridge on Bridge Road.

“Both bridges were assessed, and it was found that they need to be attended to,” Scheepers said. “The low-level bridge in Buccleuch (Bridge road) requires extensive including the construction of a new bridge resting on a newly built foundational alignment; the Buccleuch drive structure requires rehabilitation with the majority of work taking place in the stream for erosion protection.”

Scheepers indicated that any work that needs to be carried out within the wetland area prompts an environmental impact assessment (EIA), as well as a Water Use License (WUL), and that both processes take time.

“Considering that the high-level bridge requires rehabilitation work, the project was ready for implementation before the other one,” said Scheepers. “Both bridges have been budgeted for in the current financial year (2023/24); JRA is still busy with finalising the designs for the low-level bridge.”

The Buccleuch Drive bridge project is planned for 12 months. “The duration is determined by the nature of the work and this project requires more labour-intensive activities,” Scheepers concluded. “The bridge was assessed by registered engineers and was found to be structurally sound and in line with the designs and desired outcome requiring minor rehabilitation work which is included in the current scope of works.”

Residents didn’t hold back

Buccleuch residents in attendance didn’t hold back their concerns, blasting the ward councillors because of their dismay that the contractor-lead opportunity (CLO) would be of little benefit to the community.

This is only a minimum of 50 labourers sourced through six small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs).

Residents also lamented that R56 313 742.50 would be spent on the project, which entails putting rocks into wired mesh on the high bridge embankment – most feeling that the money would be better utilised in combating criminal elements and substance abuse in Buccleuch.

Journalist Naidine Sibanda observing the crack down the middle of the low bridge on Bridge Road in Buccleuch. Photo: Lebogang Tlou

“We welcome this project nevertheless on condition that JRA, the contractor and the two ‘lazy’ councillors take into serious consideration all our concerns as the residents of this ward,” said Tebogo Sithatu, a Buccleuch resident who belongs to a united civil society in action (UCSA) group.

“We demand the environment impact assessment report as well as the public consultation minutes where this decision was made.”

Sithathu, furthermore, indicated that the UCSA would ‘mobilise and block this project’ should the JRA and the ward councillors fail their constituents in Buccleuch.

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