This Pothole is 3m deep

2012-04-13 00:00

“IF I PLUNGE in here, I die,” a curious passer-by quipped, as he dipped his head into the massive sinkhole in West Street yesterday.

A small opening in the tar, which could be mistaken for a pothole at first glance, belies the fact that underneath is a gaping chasm of about three metres deep with a diameter of 2,5 metres.

A thin layer of tar is all that separates motorists from the cavern.

When The Witness was alerted to the presence of the hole, they found it was only covered with a few spindly tree branches, to deter motorists from driving over the hole. A lone brick placed alongside the hole was the only other warning.

Alert motorists swerved to avoid the branches and brick.

The sound of water gushing could be heard echoing from the bottom of the cavity.

Another passerby said 10 people could easily fit in the hole.

“This [sinkhole] is dangerous. It needs to be barricaded soon. I could easily walk into this hole. I sometimes come back from work when it’s already dark,” said Jericho Sosibo (45), who rents a house along West Street.

Bryon Botha (25) whose front gate faces the sinkhole said the ground must have collapsed on Wednesday, after municipal workers had been fixing a blocked sewer main which had been problematic for weeks.

“It’s not safe and this road gets busy in the morning and some motorists do double overtaking,” Botha added, which he said could pose a threat to drivers.

The Witness reported the incident to the traffic department at 8 am, but by lunch time the sinkhole had still not been cordoned off.

Msunduzi Municipal spokesperson, Brian Zuma, later confirmed that the collapsed tar was caused by the sewer main in the area.

“The sewer main in the area has been blocked three times in three weeks … So the section of the road was damaged because of flooding,” Zuma explained.

He said the municipality will dedicate the weekend to making sure the surface and the sewer is restored.

Zuma told The Witness that they will replace 60 metres of sewer main which runs four metres deep.

“We need to understand that this is not a one-day job,” he added in explanation.

• gabisile.ngcobo@witness.co.za

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