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Monday Mar 19, 2012

Durban's beaches get sand transfusion

Cyclone Irina, heavy seas and strong winds have pummelled Durban's coastline, leaving the city's prime beachfront areas bereft of beach sand.

The view from uShaka beach towards South Beach.

eThekwini officials will be busy over the coming weeks pumping sand back onto the beach.

At ushaka Beach, heading towards South Beach, several metres of sand have been washed away, leaving a drop of about two metres and rocky patches in some areas.

"We have inspected the beaches after the recent cyclone storm seas and have met with Transnet Dredging Services to address the urgent supply of sand on an emergency basis," said Godfrey Vella, senior manager of coastal engineering at eThekwini municipality.

Officials will be busy this weekend pumping sand at the southern part of Vetch's beach from today.

"A programme has been put in place to lay a large 900mm diameter pipe from the harbour entrance all the way to ushaka Beach in the next week to 10 days in order to speedily replace the sand losses in this vicinity due to the recent Cyclone Irina and spring tides last Thursday," said Vella, adding that this method was previously carried out last year to replace sand that had been washed away.

The sand will be taken from a "sand trap" - a hole in the seabed that traps sand so that it doesn't create a sandbar which hinders a ship entering the harbour - that is located outside the harbour.

"The operation is weather dependent and over the next two to three weeks we hope to make a significant impact in restoring this beach back to its former condition prior to the storm," said Vella.

Meanwhile, work has started at Durban's Blue Lagoon as part of Phase 2 of the beachfront upgrade.

Blue Lagoon has been cordoned off to motorists and visitors as tractors and surveyors work on site.

The second phase follows the upgrade from ushaka to Suncoast that was completed in June 2010. The second phase will entail an upgrade between Blue Lagoon and Sunkist Beach near Suncoast Casino, and will cost in the region of R80 million which includes new parking areas, landscaping, improved street lighting, street furniture and paving.

The Independant on Saturday

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