Rrams project embraces technology, transfers skills, builds capacity

The recently awarded District Roads Asset Management projects in four District Municipalities in KwaZulu Natal, Northern Cape and the Free State will involve substantial skills transfer and capacity building and use the latest in-house developed technology, say project consultants Royal HaskoningDHV.

The R22-million Road Asset Management System (RAMS) project awards were made under the Rural Roads Asset Management Grant (RRAMG) and will span the next three years, terminating in June 2016. The district municipalities involved include UMgungundlovu, Xhariep, John Taolo Gaetsewe and Lejweleputswa.

Royal HaskoningDHV’s Project Manager and student mentor, Winas Vukeya explained that the firm became involved with the RRAMS back in 2012 with the inception of the programme when it was appointed by UMgungundlovu District Municipality in KwaZulu-Natal.

Pioneering work
Royal HaskoningDHV has pioneered the development of the programme with many new initiatives.

·Appointment, training and development of S4 Civil Engineering Technician Graduates (training up 22 technicians in the process).

Winas Vukeya
·Further assisted Mr Mike Pinto of Target Computing with the development of the Mobicap software package that is used for the field data capturing of visual condition assessments.

·Developed the GIS structure and methodology using free software Quantum GIS and trained the S4 Civil Engineering Technician Graduates in GIS processing of field data instead of hiring external GIS Specialists.
·Contributed and assisted National DoT with the annual refinement of the Grant Conditions as published in the Division of Revenue Act (DORA).

·Executed trial study areas on the incorporation of Class 6 roads.
·Was “first on the road” in KwaZulu-Natal capturing road inventory data electronically and assisted the provincial coordinators with the first trial areas.

·In-house use, set up and programming of computer tablets for data capturing.

“As a consequence to our ground breaking work since 2012, we now have a well-established RRAMS unit with a support structure that can manage all four RAMS projects over three provinces” explained Vukeya.

Detail of RAMS
“RAMS is designed to assist the District Municipalities as the planning authority in managing and implementation of local municipality road networks. It provides both district and local municipalities with a complete picture of their respective road networks, condition, what maintenance is required at what cost and how to plan and budget for it. “A RAMS assessment is a requirement / mandatory condition when applying for a Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG) and other sources of funding” he explained.

The work includes:
·Visual condition assessments
·Traffic counts
·Capturing of road inventory
·Bridge & culvert assessments
·GIS work
·Data analysis
·Project management

“Although there was a lot of competition for these projects from other consultants - up to 20 bids for each - our track record and experience counted heavily in the successful award.“By being able to capture the visual condition, road inventory, bridge condition data as well as road alignments electronically using computer tablets and developing open source software for GIS, we have simplified and made the whole process of road asset management more efficient” concluded Vukeya.
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