Durban - A stretch of Durban’s promenade, which was closed to the public for most of this year, is open again, but only in part.

eThekwini municipality spokesman Thabo Mofokeng said the Snell Parade, from Country Club beach to Battery Beach Road, would be reopened today after undergoing a major upgrade.

This means the Sunkist and Country Club Beaches can now accommodate holiday-makers.

Project manager Mike Andrews said the promenade between the Country Club and Blue Lagoon would remain closed until March or April next year. The area would remain cordoned off to allow newly planted grass and other plants to become established.

Mofokeng said a cycle lane, linking Blue Lagoon to Riverside Road, was also complete.

“The extended promenade means cyclists, joggers and walkers can now move all the way from uShaka Beach to the uMngeni Bird Park,” he said.

Mofokeng said the upgrade, which began in March, cost an estimated R80 million.

There is now on-street parking and a parking area at Blue Lagoon beach. The existing parking area at Country Club beach has been expanded.

The dunes along this stretch of coast have been planted and rehabilitation efforts carried out on the southern bank of the uMngeni River.

Future plans include the “pedestrianisation” of the Blue Lagoon pier. Mofokeng said trading kiosks would be erected and picnic areas introduced.

“More CCTV cameras will also be installed,” he said.

eThekwini mayor James Nxumalo said: “The aim is to create a beachfront with better facilities where all citizens of eThekwini can safely enjoy the amenities our coastline has to offer.” - The Mercury