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RESPONSE TO THE PATRIOT - KHAMA’S BICYCLE ROUTE UPGRADED AT...
16/07/14
RESPONSE TO THE PATRIOT  - KHAMA’S BICYCLE ROUTE UPGRADED AT P54M

In its edition of July 06, 2014, The Patriot, page 3, published an article entitled “Khama’s bicycle route upgraded at P54m”. We believe that the article is full of misinformation and has the potential to tarnish the image of the President.

It is not true that the road was given priority because, as you state, “the president, who is a fitness fanatic, occasionally cycles along it…” The fact of the matter is that upon noticing the abnormal longitudinal cracks on the Boatle-Mmakgodi road the Ministry engaged the University of Botswana Physics Department to carry out a detailed study on the development of the cracks and come up with detailed analysis which would guide remedial measures to take.

The University conducted a seismic reflection, refraction and ground penetrating radar imaging (GPR) of the road base at km 17.

The research findings showed serious disruption to the road bed and that surface cracks persist to a depth of at least 5m. It also profiled a seismic refraction of a deeply weathered section to a depth of 20m.

It was evident that the road is literally seating on what could be termed a fault line, resultantly exposing the underlying road material to ingression of water and further weathering the material.

Weathered material has very low bearing capacity and there is need to urgently attend to the road condition and try a preservation method that would safeguard the road condition at a reasonable cost.

In light of the above a decision was made to reconstruct the section where the cracks are pronounced and to incorporate a Tensar Traix 160 geogrid (Geo-membrane) to stop the cracks developing upwards and exposing the underlying layers to the elements. It was also decided that continuously grading with medium asphalt layer would be done in order to minimize the ingression of water to the underlying layers.

The article further alleges that there is “gross deviation from the manner in which the project is being undertaken”. However asphalt was selected because it is less permeable compared to the chip and spray. Further, asphalt is more durable and not easily susceptible to cracking. Compared to chip seal, asphalt layer remains intact and the curing is not dependant on the traffic. Finally, asphalt laying can be done fairly quickly and thus arrest further deterioration of the road

The traffic volumes on the section of road are low and the chip and spray roads need constant traffic for the chips to be embedded in the bitumen thus producing a compact mat.

It is indeed true that employees of the Ministry of Transport and Communications and not the Roads Department staff held their Community Service Day initiative – a clean up campaign for the month of June along that road but activities involved are not part of Contractor’s contract.  It is worth mentioning that it is not the first time that the Ministry has engaged in a clean-up campaign along its road reserve, a similar activity was carried out early this year along the Western bypass road and, last year along the Molepolole Road from Mopane /Metsimotlhabe/Gamodubu.

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