Directorate wants stiff road rules

Directorate wants stiff road rules

MASERU – THE country is spending millions rehabilitating roads damaged by heavily loaded trucks, a situation that needs urgent attention, said Roads Directorate manager, Seboka Thamae.
To deal with the rising problem, laws and policies that stipulate the loads carried by vehicles are being reviewed.
On Monday, officials from the Roads Directorate and relevant stakeholders met to review the Axle Load Control laws.
Thamae said the law is being reviewed to ensure road sustainability as well as to minimise costs incurred in the maintenance of roads due to overloading by vehicles.

The Roads Directorate is mandated with constructing and maintaining Lesotho’s road network.
Thamae said the government has invested huge amounts of money to construct roads but this will be in vain if laws and policies on vehicle loads are not reviewed.
“For maintenance of a kilometer road, we spent M8 million to M20 million,’’ he said.
Thamae said rehabilitation costs of roads could be significantly reduced if the Axle Roads Control was fully operational.

“We still encounter the challenge of truck drivers who overload their vehicles,’’ he said.
He said drivers are at times ordered to remove some of their cargo to meet the required load limits “and this sometimes appears like a punishment”.
“This this is not only benefiting us but also the road users,” Thamae said.
Law enforcement on drivers who do not abide by load limits is a major concern, noted various stakeholders.
Currently, enforcement in Lesotho is still in the hands of the Department of Traffic and Transport.
The team leader of the Tripartite Transport and Transit Facilitation Programme (TTTFP), Advocate Janette Botha, said vehicle load management is crucial and regulations should be fully operationalised.

“This will ensure that appropriate sanctions are imposed on those not complying with agreed legislation and standards,’’ Advocate Botha said.
Advocate Botha said they are working on encouraging transporters, drivers of heavy vehicles and consigners of goods and authorities to cooperate to preserve road infrastructure and optimise benefits of investment in road infrastructure.

Transport Planner from Aurecon, Altus Moolman, said funding on capital costs, operation costs, and maintenance costs of weighing stations should ideally come from the Road Fund and the central government.
Moolman said the Road Directorate should take full responsibility for the operational management of weigh bridge facilities instead of leaving the duties to the Department of Traffic and Transport.
“The COMESA-EAU-SADC Tripartite Vehicle Load Management Agreement and the Vehicle Load Management Model law requires that Roads Directorate should undertake overload law enforcement,’’ he said.
The Traffic Department’s Transport Administration Manager, Katiso Ntoane, said it is necessary to have a functional policy on vehicle load management.
Ntoane said such a policy did not exist before, with the country relying only on a law that governs the load limits of vehicles.

Refiloe Mpobole

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