Collapsed pipe triggers sinkhole scare

A hole that suddenly appeared on the road between Carletonville and Welverdiend on Monday evening left residents fearful that this road, too, might have to be closed because of a sinkhole.

A photo of the void, situated about three kilometres out of Welverdiend in the left lane for motorists driving from that direction, started circulating on social media early Tuesday morning.
Residents, especially those from Welverdiend and Deelkraal, were afraid that, if this road were to close too, they would be cut off from Carletonville. The other connection road was closed when a sinkhole fell in next to it last month. Such a closure would also pose serious problems for the many people who commute between Carletonville and Potchefstroom every day and those who drive through the area to get to Johannesburg or Ventersdorp.
Before 10:00, a traffic officer from the Merafong City Local Municipality was placed on duty to redirect drivers around the hole to restore the traffic flow.
The acting regional manager of the Gauteng roads department responsible for the Merafong area, Mr Dikkie Beukes, says workers from the department started working on the problem soon after that.
‘When we visited the site on Monday night, we noticed that the collapse had developed on top of a broken storm water pipe under the road.
Our workers filled the hole with dry crusher material so motorists can drive over it safely,’ Beukes told the Herald on Tuesday.
He added that the road will be repaired fully once a new pipe arrives. If all goes according to plan, this will be on Monday.
Beukes says that the department will do whatever it can to keep at least a part of the road open while these repairs are being done.
‘We want to keep the traffic flowing. We have also scraped the road shoulders just outside Welverdiend recently to make the road safer for everyone. Where possible, we will also scrape the shoulders on the rest of the road,’ he said.
Beukes and other officials have expressed concern about many other places where the sewage leaks from Khutsong Ext. 5.
The water that dams up alongside the road can also cause damage. The possibility that they may even give rise to sinkholes cannot be ruled out.
‘Wherever water dams up next to a road, some of it can leak under the road surface and cause damage,’ he says.
Although the Merafong City Local Municipality claims to do ‘maintenance continuously’ to prevent such problems, the Herald spotted at least two places where the sewage was still flowing towards the road on Monday.

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