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Tuesday Aug 07, 2012

Hillcrest road median put on hold

The construction of a solid median in Hillcrest's Inanda Road has been stopped, for now, following an outcry from the trustees of the Marx Service and Elangeni centres.

They say that businesses in the centres will suffer if the median is completed because vehicles travelling from Waterfall will be prevented from turning in to the centres.

A consent order was granted in the Pietermaritzburg High Court yesterday stopping the construction of the island until an application to review the provincial government's decision for its construction was finalised.

The initial application was brought by four trustees of the Marx Property Trust, which owns the Marx Service Centre, and the Northway Shopping Centre which, according to court papers, owns the Elangeni Centre.

It was brought against Premier Zweli Mkhize, Transport MEC Willies Mchunu and the eThekwini municipality.

Trustee Christopher Marx said in court papers that the municipality had taken into account the particular positions of the businesses and had made provision for access for vehicles travelling in both directions along Inanda Road before it had granted permission for the construction of the two centres.

The Elangeni Centre had been forced to reduce rent as its tenants' profits had dropped since the construction of the median, he said.

"If the businesses are no longer viable, the tenants will move out, which will cause the Elangeni Centre to become a white elephant," Marx said.

In response, eThekwini legal adviser Clement Xulu said the trust had not produced any evidence that construction of the median would be detrimental to the businesses.

He said the island was being erected in the public interest for reasons that included the safety of motorists.

Because of significant property development in the area, there was an increase in traffic, including in Old Main and Inanda roads.

"The lack of mobility and the congestion of the arterial roads in Hillcrest led to pressure being put by the eThekwini ratepayers, property developers and parties with commercial interests to upgrade these roads," Xulu said.

The island would reduce "conflict points" where motorists turned across lanes of traffic to reach the opposite side of the road, he added.

The Mercury

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