The Zwelethemba Bridge suffered structural damages during the heavy winter rain.
The Zwelethemba Bridge suffered structural damages during the heavy winter rain.

Municipality says Hex River Bridge is safe

By Chevon Booysen Time of article published Jul 9, 2021

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EFF rejects finding, says municipality does’nt care

Cape Town - The Breede Valley Municipality is adamant that only the road and not Hex River Bridge (also known also as the Zwelethemba Bridge) itself have been damaged by recent heavy rains.

The EFF has rejected the finding, saying the municipality simply does not care about those affected by the bridge, the only entry and exit point from the Zwelethemba township into the greater Worcester area.

Municipal spokesperson Hannelie Botha, said while the engineering review report of the bridge’s structural integrity is outstanding, they have in the interim ascertained “damage was not to the bridge itself”.

EFF's provincial spokesperson, Wandile Kasibe, said: “(We are) disgusted by the ridiculous response from this useless DA led Breede Valley Municipality.”

“Concerns over the cracks on bridge which carries the road were raised many years ago and what have they done to fix the problem? How could they have not foreseen this disaster when the matter was brought to their attention ages ago?" said Kasibe.

The bridge was damaged in heavy rains last week.

"The municipality must fix the bridge together with the road and they must also construct a safer alternative road that will not put the lives of people at risk; and if the municipality cannot deliver on that simple task they must do the right thing and step aside with immediate effect," said Kasibe.

Botha said the road remained closed.

“Due to the heavy rains of about 47.6mm, the Raymond Pollet Drive connected to the Hex River Bridge sustained damage. Although the bridge itself sustained no visible damage, the municipality, nonetheless as a precaution, undertook an engineering review of the bridge's structural integrity, which report may be available early next week. Several engineering reports over more than twenty years have all confirmed that the bridge is structurally sound.

“The road is currently closed due to the damage to the road and not the bridge itself. The municipality in prior years did erosion protection at the base of the bridge and planned to do it again this year. On the same day (1 July), the municipal Council declared a Local Disaster as the damaged road was the only access road into Zwelethemba,” said Botha.

Ward councillors had expressed disappointment at the municipality’s failure to act sooner.

Ward councillor Mimi Williams maintained that the damage could have been avoided if the municipality had heeded the calls for action during 2019.

"When the bridge had shown cracks and deterioration, we had alerted the municipality but they did not take action,” said Williams.

Cape Times

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