No system for Bay infrastructure work

I CAME to Port Elizabeth from Ndola in what was then known as Northern Rhodesia in 1965 to join the city engineer’s department.

My first assignment was to extend the municipal rail service line across Mati Road into the large vacant area which is now called Struandale industrial area.

Next came the Darling Street Bridge. This was followed by the Happy Valley Bridge to replace the one washed away in the 1968 flood, the redesign and construction of the Five Ways intersection, the Green Street overpass, William Moffett Expressway, named after the city engineer who was here when I arrived, Hobie Pier, the rebuilding of the City Hall after the fire and, finally, the freeway, including the two low-level bridges over the Baakens River.

All those projects were completed on time without ever exceeding the tender price or the provision in the annual budget, and with very little disruption of traffic.

Other engineers were also involved, most of them far more competent than I was, so I can claim very little credit for them.
My function consisted of not much more than dealing with the mountain of paperwork, but shortly before I retired in 1992, I was the one given the Port Elizabeth gold medal.

What bothers me now is that we had a system that worked, so that when something needed to be done it was done without any fuss or excuses. Now we don’t.

Angus Fraser, ex-deputy city engineer, Port Elizabeth


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