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Friday Nov 09, 2012

Joburg roads agency 'lacks materials' to fix Sandton stormwater drains

The Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA) apparently has no budget to repair broken stormwater drains on public roads, no matter how seriously they endanger lives.

When residents complained about a collapsed drain in Duxberry, Sandton, JRA officials told them that they had no cement or other materials to repair the drain.

Resident Tim Anderson is at his wits' end.

"The side walls of the manhole have collapsed. In a heavy rainstorm, the entire cement cover lifts off and we... have a geyser of water about 1m high. There is now a dangerous and deep hole into which a child could fall. "It is a deep drop into the manhole," he says. The section of road at the junction of Oak and David avenues has collapsed previously. But, says Anderson, the JRA simply fills and patches the holes, which open up again in the next storm and water flows up on to the road from underground.

The JRA says a maintenance team went to inspect the collapsing stormwater drain on October 9.

The pipes were blocked and excavations started on October 15 "to mitigate any further incidents", says spokesman Sam Modiba.

Furthermore, there is a deep hole in the middle of the road that has been caused by water erosion under the tar.

"It is only a matter of time until this section of road collapses, most likely as a car is driving over it," says Anderson. "The stormwater drain runs out under the David Avenue pavement, under my driveway [about 100mm below the surface] and across Oak Avenue. There is also a new hole that developed after the last rainstorm. It is in the middle of my driveway.

"The hole in the stormwater drain is clearly visible. It is just a matter of time until the driveway collapses," he says.

This gets more serious every time it rains, he says.

The JRA did arrive on site last week, he says, and dug up the damaged stormwater drain, exposing it.

"We expected them to be on site immediately to fix the problem. We have been told by various people on site that the JRA apparently doesn't have money to buy the necessary materials to repair a public road. If this is true, I find it unacceptable because that surely is what our rates and taxes are for. Trying to repair the road ourselves is an option, but I feel this would lead to all sorts of hassles later on. Anyway, why should we pay twice?

"The [job] they are doing is a patch-up one again, which, in the long-term, resolves nothing," he says.

Philip Green, chairman of the Duxberry Security Association, says the JRA was on site last week.

"But there is no evidence that they did anything worthwhile.

"I had a report to say that JRA workers were seen looking down into the cavity while shaking and scratching their heads.

"Hopefully they will by now have overcome their shock, surprise and amazement at what they see and are doing something constructive to resolve the problem," he says.

The Star


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