PICS: Fears of collapse on M13 highway

By KAREN SINGH Time of article published Dec 2, 2019

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Durban - Upper Highway residents are concerned that part of the M13 King Cetshwayo Highway could collapse during the next big storm due to lack of road maintenance.

The M13 is the main road to Durban for residents living in Westville, Pinetown, Kloof, Gillitts and Hillcrest.

Upper Highway resident Stephen Nicholson said that in April, after the devastating Easter weekend floods, the Department of Transport was informed about the collapsed bank undermining the highway at Jameson Terrace and also at Winston Park, opposite the car dealership.

He said he contacted the department with his concerns, and provided it with pictures.

“An engineer was commissioned by the department to provide a solution,” said Nicholson.

However, he said that eight months later repairs to the bank had still not been completed.

“Should this bank collapse, the down carriage on Fields Hill would probably have to be closed.

“Thousands of people using this route from the upper highway area and beyond would not be able to get to work, causing utter chaos and millions of rand in financial losses,” said Nicholson.

Fields Hill has a reputation as being a dangerous section of road, and has been the site of many fatal accidents.

Nicholson said that two months before the April floods he had met the KZN provincial director of roads for Durban to address the non-­existent maintenance programme, from ­Stapleton road to Shongweni where the M13 meets the N3. “As at August15, the department largely cleared the bush, long grass and installed 200m of new barrier rail,” said Nicholson.

Lloyd Makanza, a Kloof resident who lives in Jameson Terrace, said the day after the April storm he found that the bank holding up a portion of the M13 roadway had collapsed into his property.

“Mud, stone and debris had torn through my gate and fence. My front door and driveway were damaged as a result of the big rocks and debris,” said Makanza.

“About three days later the Department of Transport came,” he said.

However, Makanza said residents were responsible for clearing their yards, adding that it had been a battle to get an insurance payout. He said the fact that the bank had not been stabilised yet was “a big joke”.

Kloof councillor Tex Collins said although work had been done on the banks above Jameson Terrace, very little thought had been put into the work.

“The banks are just loose sand piled up against the old collapsed bank. They would be splendid if you wanted to plant daisies, but for safety they are a joke. The M13 is a complete and utter disaster,” said Collins.

He said the barriers along the entire length had been almost destroyed, water channels were blocked and many places had broken railings covered with plastic chevron tape.

Nicholson approached Sharon Hoosen, the DA KZN spokesperson on Community Safety and Liaison, for help.

Hoosen said the Transport Department was a mess, with R1.2 billion in underspending. She called on Transport MEC Bheki Ntuli to get officials working again.

“If serious attention is not directed to this road, the MEC must not be surprised when lives are lost,” said Hoosen.

The Transport department did not respond to requests for comment.

The Mercury

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