Traffic is moving at a snail’s pace on Monday morning, following reports of serious soil erosion along the N1 south before Botha Avenue in Centurion.
On Sunday, reports began to emerge that parts of the highway, notably just past the R21 at the Flying Saucer Interchange, were being closed due to a “massive sinkhole”.
The South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) confirmed that a team of engineers, geotechnical experts and road maintenance workers were assessing the situation.
Sanral northern region manager Progress Hlahla said the left lane of the highway has been closed as a precautionary measure, and that road users would be kept informed of any developments.
It is not yet known how long repairs will take, or when the lane will be reopened.
A number of vehicles were trapped or swept away in the Tshwane area over the weekend.
Centurion sinkholes an ongoing problem
For 10 years, sinkholes in the Centurion area have been a constant source of frustration for residents and motorists.
From forming on main roads to outside people’s homes, sinkholes have wreaked havoc with water supply and traffic in the area.
In March last year, Pretoria Rekord reported there were at least 36 singles in the area, including near Centurion High School and Unitas Hospital.
Tshwane roads and transport department chairperson Elmarie Linde told the publication that R10 million was allocated to repairing sinkholes in Centurion, and that more money was anticipated to be allocated later that year.
Recent consistent and heavy rainfall has not helped the situation.
Sinkholes are prevalent in Centurion due to the large deposits of dolomite in the area.
Heavy rainfall, water and sewer leaks, poor backfill on properties, stormwater ponding, shifts caused by landslides, borehole drilling and new buildings being erected all contributes to this ongoing problem, Linde explained.
And due to the porous nature of dolomite, when it gets wet, it “acts like a sponge and starts to crumble”.
Compiled by Nica Richards. Additional reporting by Caxton publication Pretoria Rekord’s Odette Venter.