Construction of R110m Bailey bridges finally gets off the ground in KZN
Durban - Construction has finally started on 14 Bailey bridges worth R110.4 million in KwaZulu-Natal.
Over the weekend, KZN Transport, Community Safety and Liaison MEC Bheki Ntuli, in partnership with the SANDF, officially launched the strategic infrastructure partnership that will ensure safe river crossing, especially for pupils to and from school.
The construction of the bridges comes after calls from communities, pupils and opposition parties, after photographs and videos circulated of pupils crossing raging rivers just to get to school.
At the end of January, the Transport Department signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Premier’s Office, Department of Public Works and the SANDF to increase the construction of bridges, especially for pupils.
Then, Ntuli said, the partnership would accelerate the provision of Bailey bridges (portable, pre-fabricated, truss structures).
Eleven would be constructed to provide access to schools and economic activities.
Over the weekend, Ntuli said the construction of these bridges created a platform for local people to enhance their skills and provided much-needed job opportunities.
There are four Bailey bridges under construction in the Ugu District Municipality and 10 bridges are being constructed in other parts of the province, including uMzinyathi District Municipality and Pietermaritzburg.
DA counterpart Sharon Hoosen said after 26 years of democracy children in rural communities still did not have decent access to schools.
“The failure of reaching the target of building bridges, as per the 2006 desktop study, has left the children to bear the brunt of poor service delivery,” said Hoosen.