‘Reopen Connor Road’

2019-03-06 17:10
Concerned residents Randall Adams (left), Alison Sewell and Rodney Sewell stand at the entrance to the now-shut Connor Road.

Concerned residents Randall Adams (left), Alison Sewell and Rodney Sewell stand at the entrance to the now-shut Connor Road. (Ian Carbutt)

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A 500-signature petition is ready to be submitted to Msunduzi in an attempt to get Connor Road reopened, after it was recently declared an illegal road. 

Msunduzi erected barriers and dug trenches along the long, winding dirt road after nearby residents complained of their homes being covered in thick, black dust because of the constant traffic causing clouds of dust to invade properties.

The road joins the Otto’s Bluff Road to the Chase Valley area, and was used by motorists leaving and going to Woodlands, Claridge and the northern suburbs. Even those driving from Albert Falls and Wartburg used it.

The office of the deputy mayor closed the road last Christmas after prolonged lobbying by some residents.

But now those who regularly used the road say its closure means there are no alternate routes out of the northern suburbs, and that has caused an extreme backlog of traffic during peak periods on Chota Motala Road.

They have branded the closure of the road as “unfair”, since it had been in use for decades and was only deemed problematic recently.

A petition, which is to be submitted to Msunduzi this week, complains of motorists being left with “merely one entrance/exit” — creating “major traffic congestion” in peak periods.

The petition complains that the road was closed “without any notice or consultation” with potentially affected communities.

Woodlands man Lyle Samuel, who is one of those behind the petition, said people from Woodlands and surrounds were having to foot extra petrol costs to take a longer route to town.

“People who work at the malls used to use that road. It was a route that alleviated the traffic coming from the northern areas, and now people are spending hours in the morning in traffic because there are no alternate routes,” said Samuel.

“If there is an accident or a protest on one of our roads, we have no other routes.”

Samuel said it was wrong for Msunduzi to declare the use of the road illegal after it was in use for so many years.

Asked what he made of the troubles residents were having with dust from the road, he said: “It was in use before those houses were there. The developers would have done risk impact assessments and should have known a dirt road would do this.”

Samuel said those who signed the petition would still want Connor Road to remain open even if Msunduzi opened an alternative route elsewhere.

Another concerned citizen, Randall Adams, said the Woodlands community watch group, which used to assist the Chase Valley area, now has no quick route to assist in case of criminal activity taking place.

Residents who had initially complained about the road spewing dust told The Witness that they had “nothing to say” about the petition.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  connor road

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