27 years to address KZN's pedestrian bridge backlog

05 February 2020 - 13:27
By Orrin Singh
In 2018 students from the University of Zululand constructed a makeshift pedestrian bridge to get across a river which is known to flood during the rainy season.
Image: Orrin Singh In 2018 students from the University of Zululand constructed a makeshift pedestrian bridge to get across a river which is known to flood during the rainy season.

It will take the KwaZulu-Natal department of transport (DoT) about 27 years to address the current backlog of pedestrian bridges in the province. 

This was revealed during a recent sitting of the KwaZulu-Natal Transport portfolio committee where a report was tabled about a backlog of 355 pedestrian bridges.

According to the report, a study conducted by KZN DoT in 2006 showed that pupils and teachers had missed more than a month of school because of a lack of access to schools during heavy rains.

The exercise identified that there was a need for 471 pedestrian bridges. 

After a report in 2006, it was determined that 471 pedestrian bridges were required in the listed district municipalities. According to KZN DoT, 116 bridges have been built since 2006, leaving 355 still to be constructed.
Image: KZN DoT After a report in 2006, it was determined that 471 pedestrian bridges were required in the listed district municipalities. According to KZN DoT, 116 bridges have been built since 2006, leaving 355 still to be constructed.

The department noted that more than 116 pedestrian bridges had been built between 2006 and 2019, leaving a backlog of 355 pedestrian bridges. 

The department committed to increasing the number of pedestrian bridges built from 10 to 13 per financial year, however at this rate it would take 27 years for the completion of all the bridges required. 

In a statement DA KZN spokesperson on transport, Sharon Hoosen, said this almost three-decade venture would mean thousands of children living in rural communities having to continue risking their lives, by crossing often dangerous rivers, in order to receive an education.

"The DA is deeply concerned by this finding. Our learners must have safe access to their school of choice. Above all, they should not have to risk their lives to receive a basic education," Hoosen wrote.