Shallcross residents rebuild flood-ravaged bridge in five days
A group of Shallcross residents has rebuilt a bridge washed away in the recent deadly floods in KwaZulu-Natal within five days.
The Pompene River bridge team, consisting of 10 community activists in the south of Durban, took up the task on their own with R50,000 and the sponsored use of R12m worth of construction equipment.
Team spokesperson Marcus Richards told TimesLIVE on Monday residents were forced to use alternative routes to leave or enter the area after the Blundell Bridge over the Pompene River washed away.
However, the alternative routes were often closed due to service delivery protests.
“We were basically held hostage as we couldn’t leave or enter when these protests occurred. A group of activists and community members decided to step up. We couldn’t sit around and wait for authorities to do it for us because we didn’t know when they would.
“When a group of people with the same vision get together, they can achieve anything.
“We consulted bridge engineers and the eThekwini municipality. However, we rebuilt the bridge on our own.”
Private companies, including small businesses, and individuals donated towards the cost of the repairs.
“We had to get this done and everyone was on board despite us also dealing with the aftermath of the floods. We were giving out hampers and housing at least 300 people displaced by the flood,” Richards said.
A municipal representative visited the site to inspect the bridge.
The bridge was officially reopened on Sunday.
“I wish I could explain how we felt when the first car crossed the bridge. People were actually crying. As a group of people, we did this together and on our own. It felt good to see how appreciative residents are,” Richards said.
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