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Work continues on R31

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The Department of Roads and Public Works said that work on the R31 in the vicinity of Wildebeestkuil Pan is ongoing and that a safety assessment will soon be conducted following completion of the emergency gravel lane.

Construction work on a section of the R31 just outside of Kimberley is still under way. Picture: Danie van der Lith

THE NORTHERN Cape Department of Roads and Public Works said that work on the R31 in the vicinity of Wildebeestkuil Pan, which has been dubbed Zamani Lakeside, is ongoing and that a safety assessment will soon be conducted following completion of the emergency gravel lane.

Department spokesperson Crystal Robertson said a stop-and-go traffic control system has been instituted approximately 11km outside of Barkly West towards Gong-Gong.

“The road surface was damaged by underground water and roadworks on this section have already commenced,” said Robertson.

The update follows complaints of a lack of communication by the department regarding the re-opening of this section of the R31 and the progress made thus far.

The road was closed on April 17 due to flooding.

This was after a section of the road in the vicinity of Middelpos was reopened after undergoing construction due to flooding between March 28 and April 13.

Motorists continue to complain about the long distances they have to travel between Kimberley, Barkly West, Kuruman and Postmasburg due to the closure of the R31.

They vented their frustration on social platforms about the failure of the Northern Cape government to find a permanent solution to the R31, which many regard as a “killer road”.

They accused the provincial government of lacking vision.

Traffic was diverted to the N12 and to make use of the detour road through Windsorton, and then to Barkly West before joining the R31.

Those using public transport also now have to pay extra to reach their destinations.

Public transport between Kimberley to Barkly West has increased from R30 to R60, while transport to Postmasburg increased from R120 to R160 and to Kuruman increased from R130 to R170.

Motorists are also complaining about the damage that is being caused to their vehicles on the section of the R31 road near Koopmansfontein that was lifted with sand and gravel.

Motorists are also angry that there are no visible road signs or warnings.

One motorist recently had two of his car windows smashed by stones when he drove past a truck on the repaired section of road between Koopmansfontein and Danielskuil.

The driver said he was shocked to hear loud bangs before “glass started flying everywhere”.

He said there was nothing he could do because the truck was already long gone and he had to claim the damages from his insurance company.

On Wednesday and Thursday, members of the local leadership of the EFF started a campaign whereby they started diverting trucks on the N12 to take a detour of Windsorton to Kimberley and not to drive through the small bridge of Riverton.

The “campaign” was conducted under the theme ‘Our safety is our priority’.

All motorists were advised to use the Riverton road to Kimberley.

The concern is that the bridge at Riverton is small and not safe for large trucks to pass through.

According to the EFF, the trucks, which are loaded with tons of heavy manganese, pose a danger to light vehicles.

Trucks are delivering stones and sand to lift the road. Picture: Danie van der Lith
A large section of the R31 road has been lifted to prevent water from spilling over. Picture: Danie van der Lith
Picture: Supplied
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