Gridlock outside city hall as Luthuli Street closed for facelift

2013-05-07 00:00

MOTORISTS in Pietermaritzburg city centre yesterday morning found themselves caught in a traffic gridlock as workers began paving the precinct in front of the city hall.

Vehicles could not access Chief Albert Luthuli Street between Langalibalele and Church streets, which was closed as part of the Pietermaritzburg Urban Renewal Project.

While the municipality had announced the plans, motorists were not informed when the paving would start. Irate drivers, many of whom ended up being late for work, said they would have appreciated advance warning so that they could have taken a different route.

The same problem occurred in the afternoon as unsuspecting drivers struggled to find their way around the enclosed area.

Msunduzi municipal spokesperson Brian Zuma said the road would be closed until June 30.

He advised that vehicles going into town from Scottsville could either turn down into Burger Street or up into Jabu Ndlovu Street. Those entering town from the direction of the Royal Showgrounds could turn up or down in Boom Street.

Zuma was asked what would happen when the city was swarming with visitors during Cars in the Park on May 19, the Comrades Marathon on June 2 and the Royal Show, which starts on May 24.

He said the traffic department would assist with traffic control during peak hours and during the Royal Show.

Zuma appealed to motorists and pedestrians to be patient for the next two months while the construction was under way and asked them to avoid the construction area by all means possible.

His appeal comes as some 100 teachers are attending a course at the Tatham Art Gallery every afternoon this week. Education officer Kobie Venter urged the participants to find parking elsewhere and to be careful as they make their way across the construction site to the gallery.

The urban renewal project is aimed at sprucing up the city as it celebrates its 175th anniversary this year.

The precinct in front of the city hall, between Langalibalele and Church streets, will be paved. The renewal includes landscaping, street furniture and special public art features.

The historic Edwardian lampposts outside the city hall will be refurbished and retained.


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