1st Avenue Bridge a disaster waiting to happen?

Edenvale community member and father Desmond Pienaar has told the NEWS that despite the reopening of the First Avenue Bridge he will not make use of the bridge as it has not been confirmed whether it is safe to use or not.Behind Pienaar one can see some the soil erosion caused by the November 9 floods and the plastic barricades lining the bridge.

By Stephan Lehman

Opening the First Avenue Bridge has reconnected residents from Edenvale Ridge to Edenvale, opened a major traffic artery in town and has made travelling through the suburbs easier overall.

However, community member Desmond Pienaar questions whether all of that will be worth it if the bridge were to collapse.

“After the November 9 floods, the bridge was declared unsafe and was therefore closed. A year later little has been done to the spruit or bridge and it’s now open again. My question is: Why did the municipality close the bridge in the first place? commented Pienaar.

Edenvale community member and father Desmond Pienaar has told the NEWS that despite the reopening of the First Avenue Bridge he will not make use of the bridge as it has not been confirmed whether it is safe to use or not.Behind Pienaar can see the plastic barricades lining the bridge.

He said there had been no official letter from the municipality to say that the bridge was safe to use.

In August the NEWS spoke to councillor Bill Rundle (Ward 19) who said he hadn’t seen any documentation to declare the bridge safe for use and told motorists to exercise caution when crossing the bridge.

Prior to that article, the NEWS spoke to residents of Edenvale Ridge who called for the bridge to be reopened.

Pienaar said although he understands that reopening the bridge has allowed easier movement through Edenvale, he still questions whether it was a big mistake.

VIDEO: Eastleigh Spruit, March 2, 2017

As a father of a six-year-old daughter, Pienaar said he refuses to make use of the bridge.

He added that in order to ensure his child’s safety, he has asked his mother not to make use of the bridge when transporting his daughter.

“What if the bridge collapses and she or someone else is on their way over it? We cannot replace a life,” said Pienaar.

In addition to his concerns for his daughter’s safety, Pienaar believes getting money from insurers – in the event of one’s vehicle being damaged as a direct result of the bridge’s collapse – will be difficult as well.

He believes insurers will be unwilling to pay because people were made aware of the bridge’s poor condition and wishes to warn everyone to use caution when crossing it.

“People avoid warnings until it is too late. They turn a blind eye to problems. South Africans are stubborn. We always believe we’ll sort it out, but sometimes you just can’t,” said Pienaar.

After looking at the bridge, Pienaar came to the conclusion that the whole area looks terrible.

“There is soil erosion all around the area. It looks like a building site here,” said Pienaar.

In his opinion the tape and plastic barricades lining either side of the bridge will do very little to stop anyone from falling off its sides.

“This bridge is just an accident waiting to happen,” said Pienaar.

“We all make a scene when a shooting happens in our area but when there is a damaged bridge, nothing is said,” he added.

To avoid crossing First Avenue Bridge Pienaar said he would continue to travel the extra distance along the Dickie Fritz Bridge .

A request for comment was sent to Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality’s Department of Communications on August 30, requesting comment by September 1 at 9.30 am.

At the time of publication, no comment had been received.

 

Closed bridge affects response times – residents association

Little action from metro on flood damage

#Floods – Lack of maintenance has lead to a costly disaster

Cleaning up Edenvale

Restoring Edenvale after the floods

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Stephan Lehman

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