A recently repaired sandbank along the M13 near St Helier Road in Gillitts has started to wash away because of heavy rains. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency(ANA)
A recently repaired sandbank along the M13 near St Helier Road in Gillitts has started to wash away because of heavy rains. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency(ANA)

Upper Highway residents warn of accidents, washaways, caused by failure to properly maintain M13

By Karen Singh Time of article published Oct 9, 2020

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The roadworthiness of the M13 King Cetshwayo Highway has been called into question by Upper Highway residents, who say the road is not being properly maintained.

Of immediate concern for residents was the recently repaired sandbank along the M13 near St Helier Road in Gillitts, which has started to wash away after heavy rains, undermining the highway which is the main route to Durban for those living in Westville, Pinetown, Kloof, Gillitts and Hillcrest.

A resident who posted pictures of the deteriorating bank on social media said the situation was bound to get worse.

“ potentially dangerous if a truck or car goes on the road shoulder,” she said. Upper Highway resident Stephen Nicholson, who has been calling for the Department of Transport to implement permanent solutions to the issues affecting the M13 from Stapleton Road to Shongweni, where the M13 meets the N3, said he had given up trying.

“The road is in a disgusting state, nothing has changed. In fact, it has got worse,” he said.

A recently repaired sandbank along the M13 near St Helier Road in Gillitts has started to wash away because of heavy rains. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency(ANA)

Nicholson said that in a recent accident, the three cars involved may not have gone down the bank off Jameson Terrace had there been concrete barriers on that section of the highway.

About 95% of the steel barrier rails needed to be replaced, he said.

He added that one of the main issues was that the stormwater system had not been maintained properly. Water on the surface of the road contributed to the accidents, he added.

A recently repaired sandbank along the M13 near St Helier Road in Gillitts has started to wash away because of heavy rains. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency(ANA)

DA spokesperson on Transport and member of the provincial transport portfolio committee, Sharon Hoosen, said a better analysis must be done with the engineers regarding the conditions of the M13.

“This road requires prompt action from the department with innovative ideas to ensure no washaways,” said Hoosen, adding that motorists need to be extra cautious when driving on the M13.

“The M13 has a bad history with many accidents and lives being lost, but it seems that over the years the Department of Transport has not provided sufficient support and funding to ensure proper maintenance and safety standards on this road,” said Hoosen. During a transport portfolio meeting this week, MEC Bheki Ntuli addressed Hoosen’s concerns about the safety and monitoring of the highway.

“We need to up our game with regard to monitoring the scourge of carnage on our roads,” he said.

Ntuli said while the department would do their best to maintain the M13 and find permanent solutions, the budget did not allow for it.

“With the M13, because of the amount of money that we have, we can’t do much for now. “We take note of these suggestions that we need to come up with a lasting solution, but it’s not possible given the budget cuts that we are experiencing,” he said.

The Mercury

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