Farmers fix local road

2016-08-22 14:34
(From left) Farmers Kevin and Robin Barnsley stand out on the D17 Road in Dargle which has just been regravelled uding money from the farming communities pockets.

(From left) Farmers Kevin and Robin Barnsley stand out on the D17 Road in Dargle which has just been regravelled uding money from the farming communities pockets. (Ian Carbutt)

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Fed-up Dargle farmers took it upon themselves to fix their district road, claiming their pleas for help went unheard by the KZN Transport Department.

The farmers said they had to pool their money together to fix a district road that had not been properly maintained by the department for several years.

Sanctuary Farm owner Robin Barnsley said that whenever the farmers complained about the district road, called D17, people from the Transport Department came with graders but did not shale the road.

“Every time they grade the road, they remove a layer of gravel, leaving the original clay road exposed,” said Barnsley.

“During the summer when it rains it is almost impossible for vehicles, including trucks, to travel along this road because of the mud.”

Barnsley said several commercial farms, businesses, residents, a school and a wedding venue are situated along the road, which therefore experiences high volumes of traffic.

“This is the second year that we have not been able to get trucks in or out on the road,” said Barnsley.

He said the residents, farmers and business owners had spent a lot of money on vehicles damaged by the road.

The grading also dug up large stones that made driving in smaller vehicles extremely difficult, he said.

“There are 25 landowners along this road and it is a busy road because of the farms down here. Trying to transport half-a-million eggs along this road is almost impossible. The road is too rocky and the eggs are very fragile.

“As a community, we all reached a point where we could not continue this way, so we put money together and bought R25 000 worth of commercially obtained stone to harden the road,” he said.

Barnsley’s brother, Kevin, also a farmer along the D17, said they hired tipper trucks to lay down the stone and used eight loads of stone at R1 800 a load.

He said the community had to use their own tractors and staff to fix the road even though it was the responsibility of the department to maintain the road.

KZN Transport Department spokesperson Nathi Sukazi said the department had re-gravelled the road in September 2014 and had done routine assessments on the road since then.

“Owing to the weather conditions during the summer, some sections are difficult,” said Sukazi.

“Part of our assessment is that we plan to do a full re-gravelling of the road, which will be 4,47 km.

“It is in the pipeline and we will start with the re-gravelling in the next two weeks.”

• chelsea.pieterse@witness.co.za

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  farmers

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