The provincial department of roads and public works says the construction of a temporary bypass of the virtually collapsed N2 road between Grahamstown and Port Elizabeth officially started on Friday.
On October 20, the N2 collapsed about 20km from Grahamstown due to heavy rains that had wreaked havoc and destinction, especially in the western part of the province.
The route has been closed with traffic being diverted to the R72 along the coast via Port Alfred.
Spokesperson for the department Sisanda George said: “Our engineers are all on site constructing the temporary by pass. The bypass might take three weeks to complete depending on weather patterns.”
George said the temporary bypass would be a rejoinder to the other side of the road.
“We welcome the speedy response of our engineers led by the South African National Roads Agency Limited and the Department of Road and Public Works to attend to the situation and we are confident that the N2 bypass will be completed soon,” he said.
George also said other engineers had also been sent to repair the collapsed parts of Kasouga Bridge on the R72.
“The R72 is partially opened and operates as a stop and go. We appeal to motorists to be patient while we are attending to these roads in order to provide a solution.”
He said experts had been sent to assess the damage that occurred and put together estimate costs, which would be communicated to the department of local government and traditional affairs MEC Mlibo Qoboshiyane and transport, roads and public works MEC Thandiswa Marawu.
“The report will also be sent to the national Departments of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs and Treasury prior to it being sent to President Jacob Zuma’s office for declaration. An appeal will also be sent to President Zuma to declare a special disaster fund to attend to these incidents.”
Nelson Mandela Bay municipality’s mayor, Zanoxolo Wayile, said his municipality would request funds to repair roads and infrastructure, which were virtually destroyed by heavy rains.
DA leader in the province Athol Trollip said: “The closure of the N2 will result in a doubling of traffic load and volume on the R72, which is not designed for this volume of traffic, and which has not been adequately maintained.
“This situation will destroy one of the most critical roads in the province.”
Disaster management spokesperson Capt John Fobian said 12 people had been confirmed dead following heavy rains on October 16.