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Repair of flood-damaged roads coming along in KZN

Umhlali N2 north bridge has moved approximately 50cm and had dropped about 10cm on the north end and moved 20cm on the south end. Picture: IPSS Medical Rescue.

Umhlali N2 north bridge has moved approximately 50cm and had dropped about 10cm on the north end and moved 20cm on the south end. Picture: IPSS Medical Rescue.

Published Jun 3, 2022

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Durban - Repairs are coming along on national, provincial and municipal roads which were damaged by heavy rains and flooding in KwaZulu-Natal during April and May.

Recently, the South African National Roads Agency SOC Limited (Sanral) announced that section 24 of the N2 northbound carriageway between Umzinto and uMgababa had been reopened to traffic.

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Sanral’s eastern regional manager Dumisani Nkabinde said: “The road has undergone a thorough project completion inspection and we have satisfied ourselves, as Sanral, that all the requirements (especially road safety features) have been met. The deviation is one lane only, which is a temporary measure to allow mobility and take pressure away from the R197 and R102.”

He said permanent reconstruction of the affected section of the N2 was well under way and engineers were busy with geotechnical investigations to finalise a detailed design for the permanent repairs.

Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula, accompanied by the MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, Peggy Nkonyeni, Prasa and Sanral executives, inspecting the damage on road infrastructure following the devastating floods. Mbalula inspected the N2 in uMhlali, N2 in uMgababa, which have collapsed. Picture: Supplied

Sanral’s eastern region project manager Trevor Zumani, in an exclusive interview with the Daily News, shared information on the flood damage to roads.

Zumani said he looked after the N2 from Scottburgh to the King Cetshwayo District Municipality.

Concerning the flood damage, he said the biggest and heaviest hit was the N2 in eThekwini. He said there was a lot of damage along the N2 in the vicinity of Isipingo. However, by last week they had added the asphalt base and top layer.

“However, there are bigger interventions; for instance, the crossroads from the old airport towards Umlazi, where the road completely collapsed before the bridge apartment. That requires a full structural repair, but in the meantime, to allow mobility for pedestrians we have installed a container ... but vehicles will have to wait for a full repair,” Zumani said.

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Umhlali N2 north bridge has moved approximately 50cm and dropped about 10cm on the north end and moved 20cm on the south end. Picture: IPSS Medical Rescue.

“There’s also a key link road at the bottom of the R102, just in the same vicinity towards Malls Tiles, which leads to Umlazi. There we prioritised that section where a lot of our gantries were hit by containers, thus damaging the road infrastructure. So we had to start with restoring stormwater pipes, and then from there we will be building up layer works and asphalt,” he added.

Zumani said while the eThekwini Municipality and Department of Transport were busy fixing on their end, within his work limit as well, ­Sanral was also working to allow people in and out of Umlazi. Further down, the sinkhole around Amanzimtoti was just a matter of finalising approval from Sanral’s internal processes in terms of procurement.

“There we’re just held up by following procedure to get approval to carry out that work. I’ve been getting calls from councillors and the general public, but unfortunately, I have to follow the procedure as well, otherwise, I’ll also be in trouble, but that’s the delay there. However, we’ll be rectifying it as soon as we get approval to close the sinkhole in terms of the procurement procedure, so we will be prioritising that as well.”

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Zumani said further down, there was section 23, in Umkomaas. An embankment trailer has caused Sanral to close off the shoulder and the slow lane, so cars are only using one lane over a small section.

“It’s because of the failure. Again, because that’s a big job, the consultants are busy finalising their investigations so that they can have a permanent solution to that failure,” Zumani said.

Umhlali N2 north bridge has moved approximately 50cm and dropped about 10cm on the north end and moved 20cm on the south end. Picture: IPSS Medical Rescue.

Coming back up north, the famous one is the Umhlali Bridge, which has shifted, causing Sanral to allow contraflow on the southbound. But Sanral has blocked the bridge altogether on the northbound carriageway because the bridge had shifted.

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“Investigation specialists are there, doing investigations, to finalise repairs that have been completed as far as I understand, because another manager is dealing with that project. But from what I can say, it won’t take anything less than six months to repair. So people will just have to bear with us while using the contraflow just to be able to move between the north and the south coast,” Zumani said.

He said he thought those were the major repair problems.

Zumani said after a weekend of heavy rains and flooding last month, the major issues they picked up were on the South Coast, not in Umgababa, where they had closed off the N2 totally on the northbound carriageway. He said there was a new failure about 400m from there. Other than that, there was nothing new that they had picked up.

Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula, accompanied by the MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, Peggy Nkonyeni, Prasa and Sanral executives, inspecting the damage on road infrastructure following the devastating floods. Mbalula inspected the N2 in uMhlali, N2 in uMgababa, which have collapsed. Picture: Supplied

“We are busy observing all over, but there is nothing major, except for minor things like the embankment failure by the new airport, just a slight embankment failure that happened over the weekend rains,” Zumani said.

“Even on the N3, we have observed. We recently closed a sinkhole next to the Hillcrest off-ramp; that one we sorted out in a few days. So there haven’t been any new developments in terms of the damages on our roads, besides what has happened on alternative routes like the M4 near La Mercy, there are those washaways that happened.”

Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula, accompanied by the MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, Peggy Nkonyeni, Prasa and Sanral executives, inspecting the damage on road infrastructure following the devastating floods. Mbalula inspected the N2 in uMhlali, N2 in uMgababa, which have collapsed. Picture: Supplied

Zumani said it was hard to say how much the damage caused by the rainfall and flooding would cost, because some issues were popping up long after the floods.

However, he did know that there was a consolidated forum which had quantified everything into one list.

“We’re keeping a record of how much is going into flood damages,” Zumani said.

“Some effects don’t happen right now, we only see them afterwards, because some failures are only popping up now, because it’s a long-term effect. Damage could have been done now, but it’s hidden somewhere. So it’s hard to quantify as yet, until we see what other damages are there.”

Daily News

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KwaZulu-Natal

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