Meeting to resolve suburban truck anger
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Trucks travelling through Durban’s suburban roads and growing truck congestion across the city are being addressed, after a meeting between eThekwini Municipality and the SD (South Durban) Trucking Coalition, along with a number of other role players.
This week, Shanice Firmin, from the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA) and who heads up the SD Trucking Coalition, confirmed a “fruitful meeting” had been held, which was attended by numerous stakeholders including city representatives, eThekwini Transport Authority, Civil Engineering, Roads, Metro Police, Land Use Management, Roads, eThekwini Municipality Communications Unit and affected community residents.
Concern was raised by residents, particularly in the Glenwood, Umbilo, Bluff, Montclair, Wentworth, Clairwood and Mobeni suburbs, about trucks using suburban roads to get to the port, often breaking down or getting stuck on hills and causing traffic jams.
Firmin said: “We are looking at these issues which need to be broken down into short, mid and long-term goals. It’s not going to be overnight and it’s going to take some time. There are so many roads which are being impacted by trucking,” she said, adding that the trucking industry was made up of long haul (long distance eg from Gauteng) and short haul (local companies moving goods back and forth between warehouses to the port).
Many short haul truck owners are local and also park their trucks on the side of the road outside their homes, while many small truck yards have also sprung up in suburban areas.
Issues include new infrastructure being damaged soon after being installed, routing using GPS systems with some suburban roads not being blocked by such systems, and having more efficient scheduling systems into the port.
“One of the main community issues were trucks on suburban roads and enforcement by Metro will be needed.
“With the short haul trucks, a lot of them do not have set times and will all arrive at the port facility at once, so this issue also needs to be tackled,” said Firmin.
She said the planned Cato Ridge development to reduce the truck congestion in Durban, which envisages long haul trucks offloading at Cato Ridge and products being railed into the port, was expected to still take a number of years to develop. In the meanwhile, new stop and stage areas were being sought in Durban.
“At the meeting, there were many government departments willing to resolve these issues, and to have everyone sitting at the table, it was a very fruitful meeting,” said Firmin, adding that further meetings would be scheduled.
eThekwini Municipality spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela confirmed this week that new signage had been erected, and that engagements with the community had taken place.
He said that with regard to the planned Cato Ridge development, the city would share the Integrated Freight and Logistics Plan at the next meeting.
“We will give them an overview of all the interventions being considered by eThekwini, including 2nd Road Access to the Durban Container Terminals and Truck Stop/Truck Staging Areas in the South Durban Basin,” said Mayisela, adding that Metro Police had also attended the meeting and made a commitment to enforcement, and to hold a briefing on the crime reporting process to Metro at the next meeting.
The Independent on Saturday