Bridge sinks, cuts Main Road
By Daneel Knoetze
Cape Town – The main access route to the South Peninsula was cut off on Tuesday morning when torrential overnight rain caused a low water bridge over a river that feeds Sandvlei to partially collapse, causing authorities to close the road.
A night of stormy weather saw many other city roads flooded, electric wires felled and shack roofs blown off .
On Tuesday morning SA Weather Services said the 24-hour rainfall at Kirstenbosch had been 90.6mm, at the airport 96mm, and at Kenilworth, 57.2mm.
Metro traffic spokeswoman Maxine Jordaan said that Main Road between Steenberg Road and Old Boyes Drive was closed. The section of the bridge that had not collapsed was unstable, and vehicles were being diverted around Westlake Golf Course, via Steenberg Road, Westlake Avenue and Boyes Drive.
City of Cape Town Disaster Management officials have warned Capetonians to brace themselves for more heavy rains.
On Tuesday morning Disaster Management spokesman Wilfred Solomons-Johannes issued a list of 13 roads which had been flooded overnight. The worst affected areas extended from Plumstead, Retreat and Steenberg to the Muizenberg coast.
A section of Main Road in Kalk Bay, which has been undergoing upgrading since 2008, was reportedly flooded with knee deep water.
“There is no way to walk from the one side to the other. The cars are going very slowly. It’s the worst I have ever seen it,” an employee at the nearby Brass Bell restaurant told the Cape Argus on Tuesday morning.
Also in the Southern Suburbs, overhead electric wires had come down in Wetton, Claremont, Wynberg and Meadowridge.
Two shacks had their roofs blown off and another was destroyed by the wind in Uitkyk informal settlement near Sir Lowry’s Pass.
Sir Lowry’s pass ward councillor Johannes Middleton said that it was the worst winds experienced in the area for a number of years.
A couple and a young child living in the shack managed to escape without injury and were taken in during the night by a family friend. The other two damaged structures are repairable.
Siyambolekwa James, the provincial chair for shack dwellers organisation Abahlali baseMjondolo, said flooding of informal settlements can be expected as the water table rises in the coming days. In anticipation of the rain, residents in James’s home informal settlement of Sweethome Farm had dug trenches.
“We have diverted the water to a nearby farm and the drainage is working quite well. On Monday night a number of shacks were flooded from the ground up, but hopefully this water can flow away quicker due to the new trenches,” he said.
City train services were unaffected by the weather, Metrorail’s Riana Scott confirmed on Tuesday.
Roads flooded on Tuesday morning were:
* DIEP RIVER: De Waal Road into Main Road.
* FAIRWAYS: Hyde Road.
* LAVENDER HILL: Prince George Drive before 2 Military Hospital.
* GORDON’S BAY: R44/Clarence drive reported rockfalls.
* LAKESIDE: Chenel Road.
* EPPING INDUSTRIAL: Vanguard Drive.
* OTTERY: Bambloesvlei Road.
* DIEP RIVER: Shaay Road.
* KIRSTENHOF: Windhover Street.
* RETREAT: 9th Avenue.
* STEENBERG: Prince George Dr.
* PLUMSTEAD: Kendal Road.
* ELSIES RIVER: 35th Avenue and Balvenie Avenue.