ISSUES AT STAKE: Let the blame games begin!

The view of the collapsed road from edge of the stream below - PHOTO: Orrin Singh

IT is beyond doubt that tragedy or disaster has always brought out the best and the worst in humanity.

Nowadays, though, just about anything that happens – good or bad – brings the same twofold, extreme responses.

One just needs to look at all the vitriolic and venomous stuff that gets said in social media responses, no matter how painful or blissful the initial report may have been.

It seems many people who have always longed for an outlet for their anger, bitterness and criticism have now found their element and are using it to the full.

And so the highway collapses.

It’s a fairly new road, so I guess hard questions need to be asked – but logic and reason will clearly be overtaken by the blame game.

What is apparent from the outset is that the road is built across a number of water courses.

Richards Bay is, in fact, a mass of wetlands, marshes, swamps and streams and sandy soil.

We even have a suburb named ‘Veldenvlei’.

Thus the highway was built to accommodate this natural geology and topography.

Between the N2 and the eSikhaleni robots, the largest road bridge in the country was constructed with hundreds of pilings sunk to reach bedrock.

It’s an expensive business, and no way could the entire parkway have been built by that cost-prohibitive method.
(Those who were here at the time the John Ross was first mooted will remember resistance to the call for it to be tolled in order to make it affordable).

The rest of the road, then, was designed and engineered to deal with the numerous water courses that crisscross the route.

Pipes were erected under the road to carry streams and storm water beneath the road.

At the northern side of the sinkhole is a stream that became a dam owing to the blockage and/or subsidence and collapse of the pipe.

Water unable to flow under the road steadily ate away and eroded the sand below the highway’s surface, and the rest is history.

I personally do not believe there was any fault with the design or construction, but one questions the failure to monitor and maintain the road verges and surrounds and even the surface – especially after cracks were reported over a month ago.

The post mortem will duly verify the facts, but my gripe is of a different nature.

Yes, we all took over two hours for a trip that normally takes 15 minutes and it was extremely frustrating.

But why take it out on the poor traffic cops who hardly got a wink of sleep all weekend?

They were here, there and everywhere, as were other City and DoT officials.

Complaint fodder, though, was always going to take precedence of gratitude and appreciation for those who bore the brunt of the incident.

As I said, the sinkhole was tailor-made for the whiners and whingers who dominate online.

  AUTHOR
Dave Savides
Editor

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