Fury over delay in tarring of Wild Coast gravel road
AN ABANDONED multimillion-rand tar road project has a Wild Coast community up in arms. The contractor has now left – after having taken more than a year to tar 3km of a 25km stretch of gravel road.
END OF ROAD: Concerned community members Gerald Goosen, Sherwin Carr and Lucky Sitwayi walk on an abandoned tar road project on the Wild Coast
Disgruntled business and taxi owners gathered on site yesterday to discuss a way to solve the problem, which they say has impacted negatively on their lives.
The project, which was to have connected the Centane town centre with Kei Mouth and Qolora Mouth, was abandoned earlier this year.
Lone Rock contractors, which began work on the project in 2011, tarred a 3km stretch from Qolora Mouth towards Centane.
Public Works provincial spokesman Sisanda George said there were several challenges that brought the work to a standstill. These included:
The community demanding the state pay for the gravel, which was taken from a local quarry; and
Delays in budget approval to cover additional costs.
George said officials met with the provincial treasury last week to resolve matters involving costs of the project due to delays.
He said these issues had now been resolved.
“By next week the contractor will be back on site,” he said.
He had not confirmed the cost of the project by the time of going to print.
Lone Rock project manager Thamsanqa Magoswana said the company also experienced challenges relating to its relations with sub-contractors.
However, he would not be drawn into commenting further on these, saying only that work would resume next week.
“I’m here to make arrangements for the accommodation of workers. “Work will start next week,” he said. He said the first phase of the project involved tarring 6.1km, of which 3km had been done, although only the first surface had been laid out and more work would be done next week.
One of the affected businessmen, Sherwin Carr of Trennery’s Hotel, said the poor state of the gravel road from Centane to Qolora Mouth, where the hotel is located, was bad for business.
“Our biggest concern is that the gravel road is in a bad condition and visitors to the hotel are complaining about it.”
He cited an incident where a visitor had to pay more than R10 000 to replace tyres.
He said even the newly tarred road was too rough for cars because it was just the first layer of the tar surface.
Taxi owner Pozi-Pozi Mkhahleli said he had spent more than R9 000 in the space of three months fixing his cars.
“I can’t make a profit because of the condition of this road,” he said.
Another taxi owner, Lucky Sitwayi, said government had to finish tarring the road. “It is costing us. “I have sold livestock to pay for vehicle repairs.”