SOWETO motorists will have to wait until August to use Mtipa Street in Orlando West as the completion date for repairs has been put back.
The street is being repaired because it has deteriorated and is now impassable. It has potholes which are full of water and the street becomes flooded every time it rains.
Advocate Thulani Makhubela of the Johannesburg Roads Agency said the aim of the project was to lower the water table in the area and improve the stormwater flow across the street to prevent future damage.
Construction was supposed to end on June 30, but Makhubela said workers encountered engineering problems, which delayed the project. The affected section is Mtipa Street between Khumalo Road and Maseli Street.
“There is a lot of groundwater which workers have to pump up every morning (before they start working). That made working conditions difficult. Although we project the completion to be in the end of July, it could be earlier,” he said.
Makhubela said it had come to the point where they would get on with the construction only for the street to deteriorate again after two or three days because of the underground water problem.
The upgrading of the street includes the laying of a culvert underneath it that is expected to alleviate the flooding. A culvert is a pipe that allows water to flow under a street.
In the past, rain caused havoc for residents when Mtipa Street was flooded. Once, about 30 people had to be evacuated when the street was flooded.
Residents also had to rescue 14 minibus taxi passengers during flooding when water went through the doors of the vehicle. One witness said residents rescued the passengers by carrying them on their shoulders one by one.
Makhubela said there were many others roads that were in a terrible condition in Soweto that had to be repaired. These roads, he said, would have to be reconstructed because they had deteriorated to the point where they could not be patched up any more.
The agency urged motorists to use these alternative routes:
* Drive through Butshingi Street, right into Vilakazi and back into Khumalo Street.
* Turn left into Maseli Street, right into Phoofolo Street and into Moemal Street and then into Vilakazi Street which will take you to Khumalo Road.