NEWS

Bakwena delays introduction of full electronic tolling!

Bakwena chief execbakwena-logoutive Graeme Blewitt said on Tuesday it had the capacity to move to full electronic tolling but would keep the booms down at its toll plazas to manage its risk.

The annual report of the South African National Roads Agency Limited released in October revealed the agency had only been able to collect R1.1 billion of the more than R9.95 billion that motorists had been invoiced for e-tolls on the GFIP during the financial year to March 2015.

The Bakwena Platinum Corridor Concessionaire company has a functional e-tag system on its tolled road network, which is also inter-operable on the GFIP, but the booms at its toll plazas will only rise if a motorist has sufficient credit on their e-tags.

Bakwena commercial manager Liam Clarke said it had collected 99 percent-plus of the revenue that was due to it, with 36 percent of this revenue coming from e-tags.

“That is our own tags and Sanral’s tags and the rest is cash and cards. But if you don’t have money on your e-tags, you can’t get through because we keep our booms down,” he said.

Clarke said Bakwena had tendered for and was awarded the concession contract to maintain, improve and operate the platinum corridor road network in 2001.

He said the total initial investment was just under R3 billion and Bakwena had subsequently invested a further R2 billion and R3 billion in capital projects, while special maintenance projects that tended to come out of its operating budget were probably running at about R70 million a year.

“Of the 380km of the road that we had, just more than 100km did not exist when we were awarded the tender,” he said.

The 30-year concession is due to expire in 2031. Clarke said the concession was won by a consortium comprising Spanish firm Dragados, Murray & Roberts, Wilson Bayly Holmes Ovcon and Concor.

But Clarke said none of the consortium members had any shareholding in the concession company any longer after selling their shareholding between 2008 and 2011 to the South African Infrastructure Investment Fund, which was managed by Macquarie and Old Mutual, the Public Investment Corporation and the investment arm of Royal Bafokeng.

Clarke said Bakwena had more than R1billion of current and future work on the 385km of tolled roads on the N1 and N4 that it was responsible for maintaining, improving and operating.

One of the major projects involves the conversion of the entire route from Pretoria to Rustenburg road into a dual carriageway by about 2022 at a cost of about R500 million.

He said the rehabilitation of a section of the N1 from the northern part of Pretoria to Hammanskraal would probably be done in 2018 at a cost of about R200 million.

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