Roads mess-up

On­go­ing work on R72 still im­pact­ing ser­vice roads, res­i­dents’ lives

Talk of the Town - - Front Page - ROB KNOWLES

Ser­vice roads along­side the R72 have been vir­tu­ally de­stroyed due to the heavy ma­chin­ery used in the on­go­ing road­works project, and res­i­dents are an­gry about not be­ing able to ac­cess their homes with­out great dif­fi­culty.

San­ral, which owns the na­tional roads through­out the coun­try, de­cided some time back that the R72 be­tween the Great Fish River and Alexan­dria re­quired an up­grade, and ap­pointed Mur­ray and Roberts as main con­trac­tor on the project. Gibb was ap­pointed as con­sult­ing en­gi­neers.

Work be­gan to­ward the end of 2015, with the first part of the project be­ing to re­lo­cate stormwa­ter drains and ser­vice ducts and pipelines (for elec­tric­ity, sew­er­age and tele­phone lines) to ac­com­mo­date the widen­ing of the road.

Fol­low­ing an ap­peal for help from lo­cal res­i­dent Jonathan Walker, Talk of the Town asked Nd­lambe Mu­nic­i­pal­ity, re­spon­si­ble for fix­ing up these ser­vice roads, when con­struc­tion on the R72 would be com­plete.

It seems that all ser­vice roads that run off the R72 are suf­fer­ing in the same way, with TLBs, cranes and de­liv­ery ve­hi­cles rip­ping up the ground.

Mu­nic­i­pal spokesper­son Ce­cil Mbolekwa replied: “The pub­lic need to in­di­cate to us which roads are dam­aged, so we can patch them.

“Should they re­quire gravel we do this as well.

“Un­for­tu­nately we can­not stop peo­ple from us­ing these side roads, as peo­ple see them as [an] easy al­ter­na­tive to their des­ti­na­tion,” he said.

“We un­der­stand peo­ple get so im­pa­tient wait­ing and they end up us­ing these side roads. There is noth­ing we can do at this stage other than patch­ing and re-grav­el­ling the roads.”

But Walker also asked about the state of other roads in the area, specif­i­cally the sec­tion of Bis­cay Road that runs from Main Street to West Street, where ar­tic­u­lated de­liv­ery ve­hi­cles are con­stantly churn­ing up the road sur­face and mak­ing it dif­fi­cult, if not im­pos­si­ble, for cars to nav­i­gate. “These are real prob­lems. “It is un­ac­cept­able that res­i­dents can no longer get onto their prop­er­ties be­cause of the road­works,” he said.

He wanted to know who would fix the roads when con­struc­tion ended.

In a let­ter to Talk of the Town in Au­gust 2015, Hen­drik Pre­to­rius, res­i­dent en­gi­neer for Gibb, ex­plained that res­i­dents and vis­i­tors would be kept in­formed of what was be­ing done through reg­u­lar up­dates in TotT.

How­ever, long pe­ri­ods have gone by with­out any such up­dates, and the project ap­pears far from com­plete.

Many res­i­dents want to know when all the con­struc­tion will be com­pleted as there is a real dan­ger that, with­out lines on the R72 road sur­face and with the many stop/go’s, there is an in­creased risk of ac­ci­dents.

In fact, a num­ber of ac­ci­dents have been re­ported over this time and are usu­ally as­so­ci­ated with the road­works on the R72.

Pre­to­rius also wrote: “Com­ple­tion of this project is an­tic­i­pated dur­ing Au­gust 2018, and San­ral re­quests that all road users and lo­cal res­i­dents be pa­tient with the con­trac­tor and the en­gi­neer as we are aware the con­struc­tion work can be frus­trat­ing.”

Hav­ing al­ready passed the ini­tial com­ple­tion date, res­i­dents are won­der­ing if the road­works will be com­pleted next year, as the four ad­di­tional traf­fic lights, paving and street light­ing still need to be in­stalled.

Added to this, the amount of loose soil and other de­bris re­sult­ing from the road­works of­ten flows into res­i­den­tial and busi­ness drive­ways or into the stormwa­ter drains dur­ing heavy rains.

Pic­tures: JONATHAN WALKER

MUD TRAP: Ser­vice roads along­side the R72, cur­rently un­der con­struc­tion, have been se­verely dam­aged by the amount of heavy traf­fic they have en­dured dur­ing the R72 up­grade project. This is the ser­vice road off South­well Road, which is badly af­fected and is caus­ing prob­lems for res­i­dents in the area

HARD TO NE­GO­TI­ATE: A pho­to­graph of Bis­cay Road af­ter rain shows the state of the road sur­face, which is a night­mare for res­i­dents of the street, as well as peo­ple driv­ing into town from the river side

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