High cost of craters in the road

2012-11-06 00:00

ONE of the oldest hotels on the South Coast and a popular bottle store in Umtentweni are losing business because the only access their clients have is along a road that is in a dangerous state, riddled with potholes and craters.

Norman Jesson, the owner of Venture Inn, which has been in existence since the 1950s, has simply given up with Commercial Road, which is the only access to his hotel.

Shane Naidu, who owns a popular liquor store in the same road, Venture Inn Bottle Store, is faced with the same dilemma. He vented his anger, and said that if he had the money he would fix the road for his clients.

Jesson said: “This road with its giant craters has been like this since the beginning of the year. It is a total disgrace for guests and of course it is a deterrent as well.

“Vehicles with tyres that have a low profile are going to get damaged — of that there is no question. Regular visitors know this road, drive very carefully and duck the holes by driving on the wrong side of the road where they have to, but for out-of-town guests, apart from the shock from seeing this horrible spectre that greets them just before they check into my hotel, they are not aware of this dangerous road and often damage their vehicles.

“In the dark you can’t see all the craters and if it has been raining it is even worse.

“Obviously I am losing business because people don’t want to drive on this road at night — why would they want to come here and take a chance of damaging their cars?”

Asked if he had complained to the municipality about the roads, Jesson said he could see “it was useless even trying”.

Naidu, who has had the liquor store for the past 10 years, said that in the last year his business had gone steadily downhill.

“My clients are crying. I am sick and tired of complaining. I lose clientele all the time because who wants to damage their car?

“The other day a guy came here, hit a pothole and his whole exhaust fell off … another one of my customers who actually works for Ugu fell off a motorbike which hit one of these craters and could have been seriously hurt.”

Naidu said that from time to time municipal workers filled in one or two holes, but their work was washed away in less than a week because they did not do a proper job.

“It is just pathetic to watch. I am so sick and tired of complaining. Why can’t they just do it well once?”

He and Jesson both questioned why they were paying municipal rates. As businessmen who are taxpayers, they said, they were losing money and being forced to be “reckless drivers”, driving on the wrong side of the road in order to avoid damaging their vehicles.

A customer at Naidu’s bottle store, Barry Purcell, told The Witness: “I have to come here three times a week because I have orders to collect, but driving over the holes when it has been raining I take a chance because I don’t know how deep they are and I have a car with low-profile tyres which is bound to get damaged sooner or later.”

The communications officer for Hibiscus Coast Municipality, Nomusa Zulu, said in response: “Potholes on Commercial Road have been repaired on a number of occasions by our internal team. However, due to the constant inclement weather, further damage to the road has been experienced.

“A pothole contractor who has been appointed to repair various affected roads within our municipality has already commenced with the job, and we would like to assure the residents of this neighbourhood that Commercial Road will be attended to within the scope of the scheduled works programme.

“The municipality apologises for the inconvenience which has been suffered by both residents and business operators in this regard.”

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