Road closure during demolition of eyesore China Emporium

China Emporium. Picture: Thobeka Ngema

China Emporium. Picture: Thobeka Ngema

Published May 30, 2024


Durban — A street in the vicinity of the China Emporium building in Durban will be closed for three weeks from Friday.

A fire had ripped through mainly the lower levels of the building on Dr Pixley kaSeme Street on January 21, 2022, and has remained an eyesore ever since.

In a statement, the eThekwini Municipality issued a road closure notice which indicated that Brook Street, an extension of the M4 Southern Freeway heading into Dr Pixley kaSeme Street, will be temporarily closed to traffic from Friday, May 31 to June 21.

“The road closure is due to the demolition of the China Emporium building which is currently under way,” the municipality said.

“Motorists are urged to consider alternative routes into the city centre.”

The municipality said these alternative routes include:

  • Left into Anton Lembede Street, right into Warwick Avenue, and right onto Dr Pixley kaSeme Street.
  • Margaret Mncadi Avenue (Victoria Embankment) off-ramp.
  • Che Guevara Road (Moore Road) off-ramp.

“Please exercise caution and plan routes in advance, taking note of traffic delays,” the municipality advised.

The municipality added that the Durban metro police service will be deployed to manage traffic flow and assist motorists.

“The City apologises for any inconvenience caused. However, this road closure is for the safety of motorists while the demolition is under way. It also allows the contractor access to the site without hampering traffic flow in the area,” the municipality added.

Last month, sister publication “Sunday Tribune” reported that the municipality began its Inner City Regeneration Programme with the demolition of China Emporium as they attempt to restore the central business district to its “heydays” and attract investors. The municipality also promised to repurpose other buildings in this precinct that are in bad condition, such as the old Post Office building.

To mark the beginning of the end for the Emporium, structural engineer Jacques van Heerden oversaw a mock demolition of the building, with the invitees looking on.

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