A PROVINCIAL road in Port Elizabeth that has been closed for two months following the heavy rain that hit the city does not look like it will be opened anytime soon – with the Department of Roads and Public Works saying it would be too costly to solve the problem.
The Seaview Road, which was built through a blind valley that forms a natural lake after excessive rain, has been flooded since June 14.
A section of about 500m is affected, necessitating traffic to be redirected to the Upper Seaview Road.
Tow truck driver Phillip Wolfsburg said in the last month and a half they have had to “rescue” four or five cars.
“A lot of people think they can go through the water, but they get stuck because the water is very deep.
“The road closure has caused a great deal of inconvenience. The people have been using the old Seaview Road which is very dangerous at night,” he said.
David Mackay, a motorist who was rescued from the flooded road, said his car had been written off.
“About two weeks ago there were no signs that said the road was flooded and that was very irresponsible of the municipality.
“I thought it was just water I could drive through, but I got stuck halfway. My bakkie, which has 10000km on the clock, has been written off because of water damage,” he said.
Collen Botha, a Seaview resident, said they were inconvenienced by the road closure.
“The road closure has been extremely inconvenient because it is our main road to town. The alternative road has been very congested especially on Monday when people were burning tyres. I have been in Seaview for 27 years and in the last two years the road has been closed frequently,” she said.
Cacadu district road engineer Marius Keyser said: “There is a natural lake which forms there when there is heavy rain. There is no simple solution to solving the problem. The only option would be to level the road but it would be very costly – costing around R5-million. It is not viable at the moment because there is an alternative road,” Keyser said.
DA chief whip Pine Pienaar said he received an unsatisfactory response from Roads and Public Works MEC Thandiswa Marawu when he tried to find answers about the road closure.
“Her excuse that the draining of a natural lake that forms on the road after excessive rain would be a costly exercise is simply not a satisfactory answer. Nor is her attitude that the local residents will unfortunately have to bear with us.
“Service delivery and the maintenance and repair of infrastructure is the core business of the department and the municipality,” Pienaar said.
Municipal acting communications director Marthie Nel said the Seaview Road was a provincial road.
“We have no jurisdiction on the road. We cannot close it or drain it. We have no say whatsoever on the road.”