Floods cut roads into city

2012-08-09 00:00

HEAVY rain flooded the Grimthorpe Road low-level bridge in Lincoln Meade yesterday, blocking the Bishopstowe farming community’s direct access to the Pietermaritzburg CBD.

Bishopstowe resident Candy Seymour said: “This is a long-standing story because this community has been asking for a proper bridge to be built there since 1936.”

Seymour said she was not surprised by news of the bridge’s flooding.

As a member of the Msunduzi council, she had pushed for a new bridge to be built, but her efforts were in vain.

There had been nine drowning at the bridge — all of them pedestrians who were walking to the city — Seymour said, predicting that it would take months to fix the structure. She said the bridge was also used by Eastwood residents to avoid traffic congestion in the northern suburbs.

Councillor Sandy Lyne said: “I have reported this to the municipal manager and have been informed that council officials are addressing the problem.

“Historically, this bridge has been a problem and since I became a councillor I have taken up the fight to ensure it stays on the integrated development programme [IDP],” said Lyne.

Meanwhile, the Woodhouse Road bridge, near Sobantu, was also flooded and cordoned off yesterday.

Councillor Thandi Matiwane said the low-level bridge had been a problem for years, with motorists and pedestrians dying when the river overflowed. “We have been reporting this matter to the municipality for the past 15 years, but even now it is not in the IDP,” she said.

The bridge was used by northern suburbs residents as an alternative route to Scottsville, said Matiwane.

“We also have a similar problem with a low-lying bridge used by pupils who go to Sobantu High School, but live in Tamboville and Cinderella Park.”

Pupils were forced to stay at home whenever the bridge was flooded. There were no funds for the bridge to be upgraded, said Matiwane.

“With the city’s budget under strain, perhaps we should turn to the provincial government to assist in the upgrading of all these bridges,” she said.

The Msunduzi Municipality was not available for comment on the matter.

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