The Botswana Road Maintenance Manual (BRMM), which will serve as a national reference document for the public and private sectors of the construction industry, has been introduced.
The BRMM provides strategic guidance on the provision of maintenance works in all types of roads in Botswana and has set standards and specifications of how the Public Highway Network (PHN) of approximately 20, 000km should be maintained.
“Internal roads, roads in National Parks and Game Reserves, roads in the private properties whether they are bituminized, gravel or sandy have to be maintained in accordance with standards that are espoused in the new Botswana Roads Maintenance Manual,” said the Minister of Transport and Communications, Frank Ramsden.
Ramsden said roads need to be maintained according to set of standards because roads exist for the promotion of trade and the facilitation of the movement of people, not only within the borders of the country but as well as transit traffic to neighbouring countries.
He said road maintenance is more than just grass-cutting and pothole- patching; it includes repairs to drainage structures, road signs, removal of livestock from the road reserve, street cleaning, including repairs to traffic and street lights and, most importantly, maintenance on bridges.
Ramsden said BRMM is an important document as it will greatly assist in efforts to keep well maintained roads in the country to boost the economy and reduce road traffic accidents.
He said government spent more than P70 million on routine maintenance using Labour Based Methods and 30 citizen contractors employing more than 7000 people were engaged.
In addition, he said the road asset replacement value is estimated at about P28 billion and about 25 percent of the total budget to Roads Department is currently being spent on road maintenance.
“The Botswana Road Maintenance Manual will ensure a cost-effective way of funds utilising on road maintenance,” he said.
Botswana is a land-locked country and largely depends on its road infrastructure; as it is integral to its regional and international competitiveness.
A Condition Survey carried out in 2009 revealed that Botswana’s Public Highway Network has deteriorated since 2002, in the quality of the road and substantial reductions in road asset value. The survey report has recommended that to prevent further deterioration there is need for an effective maintenance strategy intervention to protect the PHN worth more than P24 billion.
Government has taken a conscious decision to shift focus from construction of new roads, to rather maintaining the existing infrastructure. The production of the Botswana Road Maintenance Manual was a joint effort between Roads Department and the Norwegian Public Roads Administration.