Hard road ahead for Cape dune mole-rats

2016-06-20 18:06


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Cape Town - With a degraded section of Spine Road in Khayelitsha being revamped and fitted with barriers to prevent Cape dune mole-rats from digging tunnels under the tar, the burrowing mammals are in for a hard time.

The City of Cape Town said in a statement on Monday that a section of the road, between Mew Way and Alpine Street intersection, was in the process of being upgraded in a project costing more than R28m.

Mayoral committee member of transport for Cape Town, Brett Herron, said the road surface had deteriorated over the years due to the volume of traffic, the presence of grey water and the activities of the Cape dune mole-rat.

The mammal grows to about 38cm long and is known to dig tunnels under roads, which then collapse under heavy traffic, he explained.

"Their underground activities also cause undulations of the road surface, leading to poor ride quality and other failures. This section of Spine Road counts among their favourite digging grounds and, as such, we will now install mole barriers along both sides of the road to prevent them from digging under the road.

Work to be done in stages

"It is time-consuming to install mole barriers, but the advantages make it worth our while."

Herron said a significant number of pedestrians walked along this route, but there were currently no pedestrian facilities or street lighting. 

Sidewalks and street lighting would be installed and 1.7km of the road would be resurfaced.

The road shoulders behind the yellow line would be made 2.5m wide and be marked for cyclists. 

The project was expected to take a year to complete and, as the work would be done in stages, would require road closures and stop-go systems. 

Read more on:    cape town  |  animals

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