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Transport MEC promises Tongaat River bridge repair completed before Christmas holidays

Fifty jobs are expected to be created through the repair project.

The KZN MEC for Transport, Sipho Hlomuka, has promised that the M4 Tongaat River bridge will be open for use by end November.

Repairs of the bridge, damaged by floods in April last year, will be conducted by Raubex Group subsidiary company, Cape Town-based Empa Structures, who were appointed to the task after several failed tender attempts. The contract value is R54 million.

Speaking at the bridge site last Friday, Hlomuka said communities on both sides had been severely impacted by the bridge’s closure.

They will also be beefing up security to ensure that the so-called “construction mafia” will not be allowed to disrupt repairs.

It is expected that 50 jobs will be created during the repair process.

KwaDukuza mayor, Lindile Nhaca said she was delighted with the news. She added that once repaired, the bridge’s return would go a long way in easing congestion on both the R102 and N2.

However, a problem could arise if the bridge is opened to traffic before another area of damage to the M4 is repaired.

The body corporate of the Nguni complex, a block of apartments on the sea side of the M4 between the Tongaat River bridge and the Westbrook circle, believes the M4 could collapse if it was opened to normal traffic flows.

A portion of the M4, directly opposite the Nguni Complex, has sustained substantial slippage.

Body corporate chairperson, Gerald Nochumsohn said they believed the road posed a serious threat to the safety of their residents.

They would seek a court interdict to stop the reopening if the road was not repaired before the bridge reopened.

Sanral eastern region project manager, Mpho Nephembani told the Courier on Friday the repair job had gone out for tender, and they hoped to award the tender before the end of July.

iLembe Chamber of Commerce chief executive, Cobus Oelofse, said it was absolutely critical to the business community that the M4 be reopened to traffic as soon as possible.

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