THE collapse of a section of the bridge over the Dorpspruit in downtown Pietermaritzburg caused severe traffic chaos yesterday, and motorists travelling between the CBD and the northern suburbs will have to use alternative routes this weekend.
Chota Motala Road was closed for vehicles moving out of the CBD yesterday after the bridge, which is under construction, collapsed as a result of Thursday’s heavy rains, which caused a soil washaway.
“Then the support system fell down today [yesterday] at about 10 am because there was no more soil to keep it stable,” said supervisor for road workers Kassie Putter.
Vehicles were prevented from crossing the bridge to avoid a further collapse.
“We noticed the danger before the support system fell and immediately closed the section of the road.
“Motorists will have to use other routes, because if we allow them to drive over the bridge there is going to be a danger,” Putter said.
The closure of the northern- bound lane caused a huge traffic jam on Church and Masukwana streets. The city-bound lane remained open.
Putter said workers started refilling the soil under the road immediately. He said work on the bridge will probably continue until tomorrow.
“Most probably the road will be reopened on Monday,” he said.
Gavin Harrison, the project manager for the South African National Road Agency Limited, said the road had to be closed to avoid accidents.
“Traffic cops were posted to prevent cars from crossing the bridge,” he said.
Msunduzi Municipality spokesperson Brian Zuma said motorists were informed through radio stations to avoid Chota Motala Road. He said the closure caused the traffic jam.“
They can use Ohrtmann Road or other routes,” said Zuma.