Human Behaviour That Contributes To Road Deterioration
One of the core responsibilities of the Municipal Council of Manzini is to ensure citizens enjoy road infrastructure of acceptable riding quality. The City of Manzini has a vast network of surfaced (60%) and gravel roads (40%); some of which are in a good riding condition whilst others are in a state of deterioration, largely due to age. The presence of potholes on paved roads is one of the major discomforts to the road user. Potholes occur when cracks develop on the road surface resulting in water infiltrating into the base layers of a road. The presence of water weakens the underlying layers of the road and as vehicles pass through the weak spots, pieces of the asphalt surface weaken and end up breaking down as a result of the vehicle weight; thereby causing potholes. It is, therefore, important that storm water run-off be channelled off the road pavement into a drainage system. As the rainy season approaches, the Municipality deems it appropriate to highlight some of the human behaviour that contributes to deterioration of road infrastructure; in the hope that members of the public will desist from these going forward.
- DISPOSAL OF WASTE IN DRAINS
Residents and the general members of the public are implored to desist from disposing waste in storm water drains. As per the Litter Regulations, 2011, disposal of waste in undesignated areas is a criminal offence that carries fines ranging from a minimum of E50 for littering and E5,000 for illegal dumping. Often times waste such as garden waste, plastics and paper are found in storm water drains and these end up causing blockage thereof, resulting in storm water runoff on the road surface instead of flowing into the catch pits. The presence of water ponds on an asphalt road causes damage to the road infrastructure. Moreover, during heavy rains, clogged storm water drains result in flooding of intersections making driving on city streets dangerous. The storm water can also flood nearby properties. The Municipal Council of Manzini does clean storm water drains from time to time, however, it is also important that residents remove any accumulation of objects in storm water drains that are within their frontage as soon as they see it in order to avoid clogging and the resultant flooding of their properties.
- DON’T PLACE CONSTRUCTION MATERIAL ON ROAD RESERVE
Another common occurrence in the city is that when property owners develop their properties they often place construction material such as blocks, sand and aggregates on the road reserve and storm water drains. Experience shows that the remnants of the building material tend to clog the drainage system during periods of rain; resulting in water runoff and damage to the road. Property developers are urged to ensure that all construction material is placed within the property and not on road reserves and storm water drains.
- CONSULT COUNCIL FOR ACCESS TO PROPERTY
The rule of thumb is that the Municipality constructs one access for properties within the urban area. Whenever the property owner desires an additional access to their property, they are required to do so using their own resources. However, even then, it is still imperative that the Municipality’s Technical Services Department be consulted before construction of the access takes place so that proper guidance in terms of specifications can be rendered. Often times, and particularly with property access that is constructed on open drains, property owners use small storm water pipes that are below the required standard when constructing additional access to their properties. During heavy storm, the storm water pipes are unable to accommodate the runoff; resulting in flooding of roads and nearby properties.
- FIXING OF VEHICLES ON ROADWAY
Fixing of a vehicle on the road does not only carry the potential of causing accidents but the oil spillages (especially hydraulic oil) damage the asphalt surface. Moreover, the oil spills contribute to degradation of the environment. When the oil penetrates into the underlying road layers it can cause damage to the asphalt surface, decrease its strength and result in premature destruction of the road surface. The oil spills, which make the road surface slippery, also have the potential to cause accidents. Moreover, the stones that are usually used to support the vehicle for purposes of keeping it stable are usually left on the road after fixing of the vehicle. When heavy vehicles run over the stone a massive pothole occurs. These sometimes also end up in the storm water drains, causing blockages. Motorists are urged to ensure that their vehicles are pulled off the roadway before repairs can commence.
- CRUSHED STONE SPILLAGES ON THE ROAD
Construction companies are implored to ensure that trucks that ferry aggregates (crushed stone) and ready mix concrete do not carry more than the required load. An overload often results in spillage of the material on the road surface. As other vehicles run over the aggregate spills, potholes occur. Experience points to the fact that the aggregates also spill into nearby storm water drains; resulting in clogging.
- SPINNING AND DRIFTING
Spinning and drifting of vehicles on both paved and unpaved roads also results in damage to the infrastructure as it gets worn out. The negative impact becomes worse with roads that are already in a state of deterioration. Spinning and drifting also affects the road markings; which situation can also contribute to the occurrence of accidents. Spinning and drifting is discouraged on the city’s roads.