Drivers defy closure of bridge

2013-12-24 00:00

SINCE last week, the notorious Woodhouse Road low-level bridge near Sobantu — that almost claimed five lives earlier this month — has been permanently closed. However, people have been removing the barricades and breaking the boom gate locks to cross over the bridge and take a short-cut from the northern suburbs to Scottsville.

Msunduzi spokesperson Nqobile Madonda said the municipality’s senior management committee (SMC) took a resolution to permanently close the bridge. This comes after five people survived a potentially fatal incident when their car drove off the low-level bridge on the Day of Reconciliation. She said the decision to close was effective from December 18.

However, The Witness team visited the site yesterday and found the barricades removed and cars crossing the bridge despite the fact that there was water lapping over the sides.

Madonda said barricades had been placed to close the bridge and more signage has been put up. “Unfortunately people have ignored the signage and they even broke the gate and removed the barricades,” she said.

Madonda said the plan for the new year was to put up a more secure structure. However, there are still long-term plans to upgrade the bridge so that it can be used by motorists. “In the meantime we will use temporary barricades and a staff member will monitor the situation and make sure that the gate is locked all the time,” she said.

Yesterday, an abusive resident who did not want to be named called The Witness and argued about the closure, saying the community was not consulted.

“We have people that don’t drive but use this bridge to get to their place of work and how are they going to do that with the municipality having taken a blanket approach to this?” he said.

However, Madonda responded by saying that a resolution was taken since it is the rainy season to shut down the bridge, and it will remain closed until a permanent solution has been found to ensure safe use by the public.

“During this period people get drunk and are irresponsible so for their safety we took a resolution to close the bridge before another life is lost,” she said.

Thabani Mkhize lauded the closure. He commented on his Face­book page that people like to put themselves at risk and then blame the government.

“I don’t know how many times people have been told not to drive through the Woodhouse low-bridge when it rains due to potential flooding,” he said.

He asked, “Why risk your life when you could simply drive on the freeway and take the safe exit?” Msunduzi Mayor Chris Ndlela assured Sobantu residents after the near mishap on December 16 that the municipality was looking for funds to upgrade the bridge.


Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.