R1.1bn Mount Edgecombe interchange 'captured by cable thieves'
The interchange was intended to reduce traffic congestion, promote road safety and be a significant business enabler.
A BackChatter had alerted the Daily News that the interchange had been “captured by cable thieves”, resulting in 25 to 30 lamp posts being cut down, and the cables and light fixtures stolen.
“Moreover, when one is driving from Durban along the N2, one can easily notice all the light poles on the pedestrian bridge were stolen and on the bridge, from uMhlanga heading north on the N2, about 10 poles were stolen - while one can see some of the poles lying on the ground,” said the BackChatter, who did not want to be named.
When the Daily News visited the interchange, only stumps of some of the posts remained.
The roads at the interchange are under the jurisdiction of three different authorities - the M41 west of the interchange ramps is under the control of the KZN Department of Transport, the M41 to the east is under the control of eThekwini Municipality, while the N2, interchange ramps and crossroads is managed by the SA National Roads Agency (Sanral).
Sanral eastern region manager Dumisani Nkabinde said the vandalism and theft of infrastructure, placed to improve the safety of road users and pedestrians, was regrettable.
“Sanral is investigating different options in preventing future vandalism and theft. The replacement and modification costs have not yet been quantified, but if one considers that the cost of provision of the lighting infrastructure at the Mount Edgecombe interchange and along the M41 exceeded R40million, the effective cost of vandalism and theft may be substantial,” he said.
Nkabinde said Sanral was continuously engaging with law enforcement authorities to find sustainable strategies to address vandalism and theft of its infrastructure.
He appealed to the public to come forward with information that would assist authorities identify the perpetrators. People could use the tip-offs hotline 0800204558 or email [email protected]
The Transport Department referred media queries to the municipality, whose spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela said the city had been plagued by damaged street lights along the M41 and the N2 for a number of years due to vandalism and cable theft.