Is Ekurhuleni ready for chaos rainy season brings to the City’s roads?

The Advertiser found that in some areas the City’s road infrastructure, including the stormwater drains, bridges, culverts and other waterways have been either damaged or needed dredging and unblocking to proactively minimise the problem hot spots usually cause in summer

The rainy season is upon us, and heavy rains usually bring traffic problems to the roads in the City of Ekurhuleni (CoE).
In view of this, the Advertiser recently asked the metro if it has created a plan of action or implemented whatever it sees fit to mitigate and prepare for potentially hazardous flooding.
We also asked the relevant departments, Department of Roads and Stormwater and DEMS, if they have identified high flood risk areas and developed response plans if a disaster occurs, as well as mitigating plans, including implementation of tactics that proactively address hot spot areas. The metro responded, however, other questions are still outstanding.

This damaged drainage system is clearly not ready to face the rainy season. It’s located a stone’s throw away from the Trichardts bridge, which is one of the flooding hot spots in the City.

Strategies to mitigate potential disasters during this rainy season
As part of the metro strategies to avert flooding, the metro said it is monitoring low-lying areas, low-level bridges, and dangerous open storm water channels canals as well as dams.
“One can mention and recall the Gillooly`s interchange incident whereby vehicles was under water due to flash floods a couple of years back. Even though it is the national road, CoE worked in collaboration with the national department to improve and facilitate the draining system in the area for better functionality,” said metro spokesperson, Themba Gadebe.
“One of the contributing factors for drain blockage is debris. We have therefore discouraged residents from dumping where they reside.”

Responding to a question about the city’s emergency services’ state of preparedness, and if they have a plan of action in place to deal with the usual effects of heavy rain in summer, Gadebe said lifesaving is always a priority.
He said emergency services swift water rescuers are being placed strategically across the City to fast-track response to any drowning eventualities.
“Seasonally, resources are being navigated in accordance to the risk factors. During summer time our Public Information, Education and Relations officers, together with those from the disaster division, engage with members of the communities – predominantly those in high risk areas.
“Communities are discouraged to build their structures along the flood lines. The battle is still on with construction crews to avoid leaving trenches open because those act as death traps to unsuspecting children.
“The rainwater dam up and children use that as a cooling source and, unfortunately, drowning is eminent to unsuspecting swimmers.
“African denomination and traditional healers using river streams across the city are also discouraged to baptise their members without life jackets. It might not be raining at the time of baptism or ritual practices, but it might be raining somewhere else which might flood the rivers/spruits upstream.
“From DEMS`s perspective, seasonally we are running awareness campaigns through media drives. We are continually releasing press safety tips and practices according to the different risk factors per specific season and working closely together with South African Weather Services in terms of anticipated adverse weather conditions in our area of jurisdiction.”
The metro warns communities living in or travelling along identified hot spots to remain extra vigilant.
• In general, people should avoid crossing rivers streams by using pipelines system erected across.
• If the water is above the ankle level, it is dangerous, it might swipe you over. Use alternative route.
• No vehicle is stronger than water current, so do not drive through flooded areas and across bridges covered by flood water.
• Road surfaces are becoming slippery during the rain; motorists should keep a good following distance, and keep to a slow speed limit. Vehicles should be road worthy. Functional wipers and good threaded tyres.
• Parents need to accompany their children to and from schools during rainy days.
• Avoid constructing their dwellings along the flood lines.
• Perimeter wall fencings to have openings at their footing levels to allow easy flow of rain water.
• Random littering causes blockages of storm water draining systems, instead use appropriate mechanism of disposing the waste.

The pedestrian tunnel under the Trichardts railway line bridge has been turned into a dump site for household waste, which is in turn most likely to cause blockages under the bridge, an area prone to flooding.

Following the request for information on the City’s state of preparedness for the rainy season, on October 20, the Advertiser visited some of the known flooding-prone spots in Boksburg to check whether the drainage systems and infrastructure is ready to face the wet season.
We found that in some areas the City’s road infrastructure, including the stormwater drains, bridges, culverts and other waterways have been either damaged or needed dredging and unblocking to proactively minimise the problem hot spots usually cause in summer.

City’s flooding hot spots identified
Gillooly`s interchange; N3 freeway between Gillooly`s interchange and Linksfield interchange; Subway bridges: Trichardts bridge and Hospital Road in Boksburg; Voortrekker Road, New Kleinfontein Road and Stoffberg Avenue in Brakpan. Lower Germiston Road and Heriotdale Germiston; President Street in Germiston; Meyer Street Germiston; Victoria Street Germiston; Plane Road Kempton Park; 4th Avenue (R29) in Springs.

Low lying bridges: Balfour Road in Nigel, Vlakplaats Street in Vosloorus. Thakadu street Rockville Tsakane.
Low lying streets: Xhosa Street Tsakane.

Informal settlements: Winnie Mandela in Thembisa; Villa Liza informal settlement in Boksburg; Crossroads in Katlehong; Mandela informal settlement Katlehong; Extension Six Langaville Tsakane Ema-18 section in Etwatwa; Joe Slovo Pineville in Springs; Daggafontein Springs, Gugulethu Springs Ebu`mnandini Etwatwa; Emandleni Wattville Benoni; Empelisweni Thokoza; Tintwa Village in Thokoza; Phola Park Thokoza; Tlahane informal settlement; Kwesini and Buyafuthi Hostels in Katlehong; Moleleke extensions in Katlehong; Vosloorus, Ext 25-28; Somalia Park in Mapleton; Delmore in Germiston area; Jerusalem in Boksburg; Angelo, Boksburg; Buhle Park Germiston; Marathon Germiston; Delport. Germiston; Makausi Germiston; Duduza Thembisa; Sophia Town Thembisa; Tswelopele Ext 8 Thembisa; Ecaleni section Thembisa; Vusumuzi Thembisa; Makhulong section Thembisa; Tsenelong section Thembisa; Maokeng section Thembisa; L informal settlement Esselen Park Ext One and Two and Madelakufa to Thembisa.

RDP Houses: Phomolong near Thembisa.

Also Read: Heavy rain and flooding – what you need to know


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