Ragged red brick road

2017-05-01 11:45
Pedestrians avoid damaged brickwork on the pavement in Langalibalele Street between Chief Albert Luthuli and Boshoff.

Pedestrians avoid damaged brickwork on the pavement in Langalibalele Street between Chief Albert Luthuli and Boshoff. (Ian Carbutt)

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The city’s red brick road is falling apart.

A stroll along Langalibalele (formerly Longmarket) Street in the CBD has become particularly tricky as large sections of paving have gone missing.

Walking along the brick paving, one will find large chunks of missing pavement leaving a shallow hole filled with rubble and dirt.

In 2013 the Msunduzi Urban Renewal project was launched as part of the city’s 175th birthday.

The project, which was to be completed over a period of eight months, included the paving of Albert Luthuli, Church and Langalibalele streets with red paving stones to match the red brick of the surrounding buildings.

The first phase of the project was aimed at paving Albert Luthuli, Church and Langalibalele streets.

However, in September 2013, a second report by The Witness suggested that only Chief Albert Luthuli would be re-paved as part of the project.

Businesses along Langalibalele Street have said the damaged pavements has been an “ongoing issue for quite a while” and although it might not affect their business, there have been multiple reports of people tripping and falling due to the missing paving.

The large gaps in the paving are spaced a few metres apart, however, they only appear along a stretch on Langalibalele Street outside the Boxer Superstore and near the KFC.

A staff member working at one of the businesses near a stretch of missing paving said water leaks had lifted sections of the paving, leaving them loose and easy to steal.

“People are not purposefully digging the paving up,” said the staff member who wished not to be named.

“Whenever there is a water leak, we find it pushes the bricks up and they are then stolen.It has been an ongoing issue for quite a while and we have phoned the landlords [the municipality] multiple times about the problem.”

He said the missing paving had not affected their business and they had had no complaints from their clients, but said it would be a problem if the hole were directly outside the entrance of their business.

Another staff member working in a hair salon along the street said she had often see people tripping and falling due to the missing paving, but had not heard any complaints from customers.

A staff member from a loan company that also had a large section of paving missing near their entrance said it was “a big inconvenience”.

“It does not affect our business and our customers have not complained as the hole is not directly outside our entrance, but the walkway is a problem to those who use it every day,” said the staff member, who wished not to be named.

“I myself have had my shoe caught in the bricks many times and have seen people trip because of the hole.

“I haven’t seen anyone fall but there have been a couple of close calls when people tripped and almost fell face first onto the paving.”

The Witness was on site to inspect the sections of missing paving and saw one hole had been covered up and packed tightly with gravel and sand.

The other five or so holes have not yet been covered and remain a hazard for pedestrians waling along the pavement.

Msunduzi municipal spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha said they would investigate the matter.

She did not respond to queries relating to the urban renewal project.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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