WATCH | 'Death trap waiting to happen': Road leading to popular Limpopo resort in disrepair

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  • A section of the P43/3 (Eiland Road) between Letsitele and the ATKV Eiland Spa is collapsing.
  • Culverts below the road are clogged after heavy rains and because of a lack of maintenance.
  • Apart from the sinkhole, this road has more than 1 000 potholes.

A stretch of road, leading to a popular holiday resort in Limpopo, is in a state of disrepair.

A part of the road's surface has cracked and what appears to be a sinkhole has started to form.

Residents believe it's an accident waiting to happen.

The P43/3 (Eiland Road) runs between Letsitele and the ATKV Eiland Spa. It's a 40km stretch of road and the sinkhole is situated roughly 5km from the resort.

Joe Dreyer, editor of the Far North Bulletin, told News24 he suspected a lack of maintenance and heavy rain were to blame.

"Maintenance, including clearing the bushes and the undergrowth next to the sides of the road, and cleaning culverts that run beneath the road, wasn't done," he said. 

Far North Bulletin
One of the culverts running below the P43/3 (Eiland Road). (Joe Dreyer, Far North Bulletin)
SuppliedJoe Dreyer, Far North Bulletin

The area experienced heavy rainfall in recent weeks after Cyclone Eloise made landfall.

Dreyer said there was a water stream close to that section of the road, which flooded due to the "tremendous amount of rain".

PICS | Car caught in sinkhole after water pipe bursts in Cape Town

"That water couldn't flow underneath the road through these culverts because they were blocked up - the water, as water does, took the easiest route to flow," he explained.

"What it did, was it chowed all the soil, earth, beneath the road." 

There is a visible dip in the road.

sinkhole, limpopo, eiland road
Chicanes were placed along the sides of the sinkhole to warn approaching drivers of the sudden dip in the road. (Joe Dreyer, Far North Bulletin)
SuppliedJoe Dreyer, Far North Bulletin
Far North Bulletin, potholes
Some of the estimated 1 000 potholes found on the P43/3 (Eiland Road). (Joe Dreyer, Far North Bulletin)
SuppliedJoe Dreyer, Far North Bulletin

Bennie Steenkamp, ATKV Eiland Spa resort manager told News24 that they had painted a yellow rectangular block on the sunken section of road to warn motorists. 

They also send clients daily messages.  

"There is a 7km stretch that is really in a horrific state. So, for that, we send an sms every day, to each and every arrival, and we ask them to use the Giyani Road," he said. 

But the forming sinkhole isn't the only issue on Eiland Road. It also contains more than 1 000 potholes, by Dreyer's count.

Death trap

Agri Letaba chairperson Pieter Vorster said the road runs past some of the biggest producers of citrus in the southern hemisphere.

"That is the main route in and out. Every day, there are people travelling up and down. That's not even the trucks that have to load the produce, the citrus, onto trucks. With the rain, the trucks make the road even worse," Vorster told News24.

He said the traffic on the road increases during harvest season.

He added:

It's a death trap waiting to happen.

"It's just a matter of time before something happens, which will be very sad. We've been in contact with the local municipality and there is just nothing happening."

Repair work

Road crews in the area are busy fixing the surface, but Vorster said they are working at "a snail's pace". 

roadworks, limpopo, eiland road
Workers doing pothole maintenance on the P43/3 (Eiland Road). (Joe Dreyer, Far North Bulletin)
SuppliedJoe Dreyer, Far North Bulletin

The Department of Public Works, Roads and Infrastructure, and the Roads Agency Limpopo, are responsible for the repair and maintenance of the P43/3.

Joel Seabi, the Mopani municipality's roads and infrastructure spokesperson, told News24 the road has been undergoing repairs.

"It's just that the damage has become overwhelming over time. We are looking at better options, that include major rehabilitation, possibly in the new financial year, starting this April 2021," he said.

"For now, we are applying routine maintenance, which includes pothole patching, but, as I said, we are looking at various options."

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