LOOK: M4 collapse stops upmarket uMhlanga housing development
The highway between uMhlanga and Sibaya was washed away last month due to a burst pipe, leading to the collapse of the embankment. It had been undergoing repairs since then and was expected to be reopened next year. The closure of this route severely impacted on motorists.
A construction worker on the site said the burst was caused by the amount of water passing through the pipe which the ageing infrastructure could not handle.
Located directly below the highway are two resorts. The Breakers Resort, which has over 80 timeshare units and privately owned flats and Umhlanga Cabanas, with self-catering units. Both suffered damage when water and sand from the highway embankment entered their properties.
Nasreen Suleman, spokesperson for the Breakers Resort, said the sand had entered parts of their driveway but the resort had managed to use sandbags to divert sand and water to prevent flooding.
“We have tried to pre-empt any damage and put in contingencies. On Wednesday, the fire department and the police closed part of the road which leads to our lower parking as a contingency for flooding. On Thursday they allowed us to reopen it so we are parking cars there,” she said.
Suleman said though the resort had received a number of calls from concerned holidaymakers who had seen photos of the damaged highway circulating on social media, the situation was under control.
“It’s December now, which is our busiest period.
“We have a long weekend coming up and we are expecting a lot of visitors. We guarantee that we are accessible and we are running as normal,” she said.
Brandon Mans, speaking on behalf of Umhlanga Cabanas, said the resort had escaped major damage or injury to staff and guests.
He said the resort’s parking area and car park were the most affected and that they were waiting for an assessment to establish the cost of the damages.
“We have made arrangements with our neighbouring resorts and they are kindly assisting us with secure parking spaces for our affected guests,” said Mans.
“We have also hired additional security guards as well as erected proper barricades at the damaged site to ensure everyone’s safety.”
Kwanele Ncalane spokesperson for the KZN Department of Transport said engineers had requested an extension to complete the repairs on the road.
He said the department needed to conduct another assessment since the heavy rains had caused further damage.
“We are engaging with the contractor as well to work during the holidays. Remember the construction industry is closing after the long weekend but because we understand the significance of that road in terms of providing an alternative to the N2 but also as a route to the northern part of KZN, repairs will go on,” said Ncalane.
“The plan, when the weather clears, is to look into interim measures on how we can divert the water speedily and identify an opportunity to work even if it’s raining,” he said.