Residents of Chief Moroka Crescent in Rocklands, Mangaung, were baffled when road workers appeared in their street and started removing paving. According to the municipality, this project aims to ensure that the paving is accessible to persons with disabilities, especially those who use wheelchairs.
However, this is not entirely the case. Mangaung spokesperson, Qondile Khedama, said that the Chief Moroka project is part of the IPTN Phase 1A Trunk Route, which will consist of a light rehabilitation of the existing road surface with the construction of new non-motorised compliant sidewalks catering for persons living with disabilities.
“Small upgrades will also be made to the existing storm water infrastructure to cater for storm water run-off. The current paving is removed as it is not in compliance with the Universal Access Design Standards as set by the project funders, National Department of Transport. The new sidewalks (for non-motorized transport) will have a gradient of not more than 2% to allow easy manoeuvre for people using wheelchairs and will also have tactile paving to guide the visually impaired,” said Khedama.
He added that these set of standards are aimed at addressing the imbalances of the past, where old infrastructure was discriminative to people living with disabilities as they would always need aid to use public infrastructure.
The project duration will be 10 months and is expected to be completed by November 2019. “Traffic will be accommodated at all times during the project and there are no anticipated road closures to be implemented for this project. Should temporary deviations be required during any stage of the project, the community will be informed.” – Seithati Semenokane