Drivers, businesses in a spin over road closure

Image: Halden Krog

Businesses and motorists who will be affected by the closure of a section of Malibongwe Drive in Johannesburg are devastated by the plan, saying it will result in serious losses.

Judith Biti, who manages an Engen filling station on Malibongwe Drive in Kya Sands, said she had not known about the closure until this publication alerted her to it. "If you had not walked into my filling station, I would not have known!

"This will have a devastating impact on us. Employees will have to sit at home for two weeks. This means they will not get paid. I'm talking about 25 people," said Biti yesterday.

This will have a devastating impact on us. Employees will have to sit at home for two weeks. This means they will not get paid."

The Gauteng department of roads and transport this week announced the closure of a stretch of Malibongwe Drive's northbound section and the "accommodation of traffic on the southbound carriage" between Epsom Avenue and River Road intersections.

The department said motorists must note that the 700m stretch in the northbound section between Epsom Avenue and Boundary Road will be completely closed off to traffic. The roadworks are scheduled to start on Monday July 16. They will run for 24 hours a day and are expected to take between 10 and 14 days to complete.

The current state of this part of the road is very poor. It is not properly surfaced and is full of potholes. The department said it will be conducting "a milling-off exercise of the existing surface and replacing [it] with new asphalt to improve the route's ability to carry traffic at adequate speeds while also enhancing road safety".

Biti said she would like the department to consider doing the work only at night. "They did this when they fixed Malibongwe/Witkoppen and it worked. Alternatively, they can close one lane at a time," she said.

Several motorists also called for the closure to happen only at night.

Thandiwe Shabalala, who runs a food outlet near River Road, said she hoped her business would not be affected.

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