Trench ‘an accident waiting to happen’

2018-12-10 16:45
Motorists have to slow down to the first gear when driving over a trench on the corner of Braithwaite and Frances Staniland roads.

Motorists have to slow down to the first gear when driving over a trench on the corner of Braithwaite and Frances Staniland roads. (Ian Carbutt)

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A gaping trench dug across Braithwaite Road has irked Montrose residents who fear it will cause a serious accident if left unrepaired for longer.

The trench was reportedly dug up by a municipal contractor as part of the cable installation project around the city.

Some of the trenches that were dug up for the same purpose have since been fixed, but The Witness is aware of a few that have not.

Montrose residents say the one on Braithwaite Road was dug up several months ago. They said it had since gotten wider and deeper due to the rain and motorists driving over it.

They say drivers cannot always slow down on time before they hit the trench as it is not visible from a distance, at night or when it rains.

Montrose Community Watch leader Megan Nicol said the trench was dug up more than three months ago and there was no explanation from the City as to why it had not been filled.

She said the ratepayers had themselves tried to fill it with gravel but most of it had also been washed away.

“It’s a hazard because some drivers can’t see it until they are right on top of it. We’ve been telling the municipality that someone is going to get hurt but they still do nothing,” she said.

Yolandi Erasmus said she had witnessed two incidents where people nearly got hurt because of the trench.

Both accidents involved scooters where the wheels got stuck, causing the bikes to wobble.

A recent incident involved resident Mike Muskett’s 19-year-old daughter who fell off and injured her wrist and elbow. He said she was on her way to see her grandparents when it happened.

“That trench has been there for ages and we try and take a different route to get to other places but we have to go over it to get to my parent’s house,” said Muskett.

He said he did not understand why Msunduzi had not sent someone to fix the trench because leaving it unattended only made it bigger as some people used Braithwaite Road on daily basis.

“In the incidents I saw both [victims] didn’t suffer serious injuries but I don’t think we should wait until someone is badly hurt before we actually do something,” said Erasmus.

She said several ratepayers had written to Msunduzi inquiring about plans to fix the trench but they got a generic response.

“They [municipality] said it had to do with an internal policy but we don’t even know what that policy says and if they have any intention of ever fixing our road.”

The residents are now looking for quotes from paving companies that could do the repairs. Erasmus said it was better to pay a private contractor than to have someone pay with their life in an accident.

Msunduzi had not responded to The Witness query at the time of publication despite being given two days in which to do so.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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