Frustrated by repairs delay

2009-10-27 00:00

FED-UP Boughton residents are frustrated that it has been more than two years since repairs started on the subsiding Sweetwaters/Mbubu Road bridge and there are no signs that the work is coming to an end.

Residents complain of having to negotiate through a narrow strip of road, pointing out that there have been many accidents at the bridge and that the detour and the signage are confusing.

Ward councillor Glen McArthur has a dossier of letters he has written to the municipality about the bridge. He said the repairs to the bridge itself were to have started in January, but this did not happen because the officials failed to budget for the project. The budget went through only in this financial year and then the job went to tender, which was awarded only in July. Work started in mid-August.

McArthur, who is keeping a close eye on repairs, said engineers have just completed stabilising the one side of the bridge. He said they are keeping it under observation in case there is further movement.

Once they are confident that the one side has been stabilised, they will start working on the opposite section of the bridge. As far as he is aware, said McArthur, the construction company has also completed work on the subsurface of the road and all that remains to be done is for the final layer of tar to be applied. At this stage, however, he is not sure how long it will take to stabilise the other side of the bridge, and he will be following this up.

“I was hoping that the bridge would be fixed by early December, but so far it doesn’t look like this is going to happen. It looks like the one side will be fixed by December …” McArthur said. — WR.

 

RESIDENTS first noticed the bridge beginning to subside in February 2007 and complaints were sent to the Swartkop Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association.

The association wrote to the municipality and received a response from Gavin Harrison who was the chief drainage engineer. McArthur, who was overseas on holiday, met Harrison on is return.

He says Harrison was in contact with a Mr J. Vosloo of Transnet and the matter dragged on. Transnet maintained that it was not the bridge that was moving but that the road was slipping out. Transnet undertook to do its side of the repairs. This was completed in 2008 and the municipality was scheduled to start its part of the repairs by December 2008.

However, just before the repairs were to start, Harrison resigned and the project went into limbo. At this point McArthur started his barrage of letters to get answers as to what was going on. He said it eventually emerged that the project had not been budgeted for and therefore had to wait for the new financial year.

The contract was awarded in July 2009. Sureties had to be finalised and the contractors finally moved on to the site in mid-August.

 

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