Bakwena clears oil spill on N4 in record time

It is a validation of the user-pays principle of road maintenance that Bakwena Platinum Corridor Concessionaire had a section of the N4 cleared and traffic freely moving again within hours of a horrific collision on July 1.

The driver of a tanker carrying 16,500 litres of diesel on the N4 West slammed into the back of a slow-moving or stationary second truck on the N4 left lane shortly after noon, wherein the tanker exploded into a massive inferno. It occurred along the stretch of freeway between the K8 (Old Rosslyn Road) and R80 (Mabopane freeway), blocking all the Brits-bound lanes of the highway. The driver was unfortunately killed, and the driver of the second vehicle hospitalised with minor injuries. The fire was attended to by Tshwane fire department before burning itself out.

Notwithstanding the severity, Bakwena’s contract cleaning crews were quickly on the scene and laboured all afternoon to clean up the diesel spill and fire damage, using biological cleaners, followed by removing oil-drenched detritus from the scene.

Bakwena Platinum Corridor Concessionaire is the operator of the N1N4 highway, and commercial manager, Liam Clarke, explains that it is the toll operator’s responsibility to clear all accident wreckage, oil spills and obstructions – and this is one of its many functions that motorists’ tolls pay for. It is responsible for maintaining the entire stretch of contracted highway and surrounds including fencing, plant-life and verges.

“We have a service level agreement with national roads owner South African National Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL) to repair or clear obstructions within 24 hours, but strive for the convenience of motorists to do so quicker than that,” says Clarke.

“As a result of the prompt response and thorough clean, there was minimal long-term impact on the environment, and traffic was back to normal by late afternoon” says Clarke.

Indeed, this is the normal response time, says Clarke. In yet another incident, a truck lost its load of butternuts at 6am this morning, and by 9.30am it had been cleaned up.