On Friday, 27 October, Western Cape Provincial Minister of Infrastructure and Executive Mayor for Overstrand Dr. Annelie Rabie visited the Hemel-en-Aarde road construction site. Sections of this road were washed away and severely damaged during the floods on September 25th.
The road remains closed for traffic between Caledon and Hermanus. Construction work to build a temporary bypass one-way lane is currently underway. Once this is completed the road will be accessible and traffic will be managed through stop/ go traffic operations. Rigorous efforts are being put in place by all stakeholders involved in the project, this is to ensure that the road is re-opened ahead of the festive season.
At the height of the floods, the Overberg District Municipality had 68 roads closed and affected. The number of roads closed has now reduced to 18. Following the site visit the two principals met with local business owners and provided an update on the project as well as sharing ideas on the way forward. Owner of the Haygrove company Sean Tager shared his views on the meeting. “As affected business owners in the region we are grateful to the government for meeting with us and providing an update with clear guidelines as to the complications of repairing the Hemel-en-Aarde road. We are now clear on what to expect and are grateful for their transparency.”
Mayor Rabie was encouraged by the report given at the site and the progress of the construction and road works. “I am encouraged by what we saw here today and the efforts the Western Cape Government continues to give to ensure that the road can be reopened under safe conditions for our road users. I also want to extend a word of thanks to the Minister for making the time to meet with our local business owners.”
Following the inspections Minister Simmers said: “I am optimistic that soon this essential road passage will once again be operational and accessible to road users. A lot of work has gone into the assessment of the damages and good progress is being made on the design of the engineering solution to the slips on the road which will lessen the likelihood of a recurrence in future.”
Minister Simmers added, “We ask for patience from our road users, and once the road is reopened under stop/go traffic control, please adhere to the signage. I also want to thank the local business community for their understanding of the process that is currently underway and for their suggestions on what can be done moving forward.”
Notification on the reopening of this road will be communicated closer to time.
The Karwyderskraal road is currently being used as an alternative route. Road users are reminded that this is for light motor vehicles only. The road is experiencing much higher traffic volumes than usual, and we request road users to use it responsibly by switching on their headlights, reducing their speed, not overtaking, and increasing their following distance. Maintenance on this road to address this increased volume includes an increase in the frequency of blading to keep it in good condition. During blading, there is heavy machinery on site, and we ask road users to remain vigilant and patient during the blading.