High Street bridge – Both sides open but proceed with caution

We noted last Saturday that, after a long period of not being able to utilise the left turn heading north up High Street and over the bridge, the road had finally been repaired and a dirt road now appears where there was once only a gaping hole in the surface of the road, inaccessible by car and barely traversable on foot.

“Discontent is the first necessity of progress,” as stated by Thomas A Edison and the High Street bridge debacle has certainly caused a fair amount of discontent among residents in the area.

However, the fruits of their collective discontent appear to have brought about progress with regard to the eagerly anticipated completion of the High Street bridge project which began in April of 2014.

Finally, there appears to be a light at the end of the tunnel as community members have stepped in to ensure the advancement of the infrastructural nightmare at the north end of High Street.

ALSO READ: High Street bridge repairs unrelated to project

AND: Residents tackle High Street bridge

We noted last Saturday that, after a long period of not being able to utilise the left turn heading north up High Street and over the bridge, the road had finally been repaired and a dirt road now appears where there was once only a gaping hole in the surface of the road, inaccessible by car and barely traversable on foot.

Ward 9 Councillor, Alta de Kock, confirmed however, that the dirt road is only temporary, until they are able to start work on the controversial structure again. A short time later, Cllr De Kock informed us that the pipes were in the process of being delivered from Zululand and would be laid around the house on the corner to avoid any pipes running along the structure of the bridge.

Cllr De Kock recently informed us that the pipes were in the process of being delivered from Zululand and would be laid around the house on the corner to avoid any pipes running along the structure of the bridge.

This comes after the municipality was warned in 2014 that the design of the bridge could cause problems to the existing infrastructure, but failed to heed the warnings. According to an article by Vryheid Herald Editor, Estella Naicker, “The Director in charge at the time, allegedly said that the municipality would deal with any issues as they arose…”

“In a letter issued by local contractor, Dirk Booysen, to the engineer appointed to work on the bridge in 2014, Mr Booysen warned that after the completion of the road, the water reticulation system would be approximately four meters below the asphalt surface and this would present a problem in the future.

The heavy load applied to the pipes would put them under enormous pressure.

“Should there be any leaks, it will be unnoticed until the area is saturated and the road’s integrity is severely compromised. Repair work would be extremely difficult and the road will most likely be destroyed in the process,” warned Mr Booysen.” Vryheid Herald, July 2017.

Three years later, a burst pipe threw a spanner in the works and the High Street bridge project came to a standstill… until now, that is.

“We are very glad that the pipes have arrived,” comments Cllr de Kock. “Special bends need to be made for them and then we can start to re-route the water and sewerage so that they won’t go under the bridge again.”

“Much easier to fix if there is a problem,” she adds. “And no need to disrupt the traffic and dig the road open to get to the pipes.”

Motorists are still advised to proceed with caution when utilising the bridge as an alternative route to the north section of High Street.

  AUTHOR
Elaine Rodway

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