End of the road for upgrades

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Good news in sight for those tearing their hair out trying to get through the Buffalo City centre – the roadworks along Fleet Street are due to come to a halt in three weeks’ time on December 14.

Ongoing upgrades along Fleet Street have caused havoc with city traffic over the past few months, with those wanting to catch flights out of East London having to factor in extra time so as not to miss flights.

Buffalo City spokesman Samkelo Ngwenya explained that the scope of work being done along Fleet Street included the removal of existing road layers and unsuitable material, import of new layers, stabilisation of layers, asphalt surfacing, stormwater drains, curbs, channels and sidewalks. He added: “Motorists are advised that due to the ongoing Fleet Street upgrades the road section between Oxford and Buffalo streets will be closed and [they] are encouraged to use alternative routes, which are Commissioner and Terminus streets. Construction is planned to be completed by December 14.”

Ngwenya said that until the road works were complete in this section, McDonald’s and AutoZone could be accessed via 8 Commissioner Street, where the department of sport, recreation, arts, and culture building is located.

While there have been complaints regarding a lack of traffic officials present at the roadworks to alleviate traffic congestion, Ngwenya said “traffic officials have been consulted and are being dispatched”.

McDonald’s manager Mzolisi Conani said: “This will lose us sales but there is nothing that can be done about it.”

AutoZone manager Hayden Crossley said: “It’s frustrating as this [the roadworks] will cost us customers.

“But it has to be done because preventative maintenance has never been performed on these roads.”

“I was warned about two weeks before they begun working on this strip,” he said.

“It was bad when they started the roadworks a few months ago, but it has steadily got worse the further past the BP station it went. People don’t want to come here because they don’t want to sit in the traffic caused by this. It has begun to threaten my livelihood.

“It once took me 45 minutes to travel 700m – no one wants to deal with that when they could go somewhere else,” said Crossley.

“One of the most frustrating things is when you see them doing the same work several times. They will lay concrete one day, then dig it up the next, only to lay it again. Almost as though they keep forgetting something.”

“I must commend the fact that they seem to be working a lot faster on this strip now,” said Crossley.

A builder working on site, who wished not to be named, said: “People drive past swearing at us because they were stuck in traffic, but one of the biggest contributors to the bad traffic is a complete disregard of road rules.

“All the time we see cars driving through red robots. These cars then stop in the middle of the road causing a huge backup. If people just obeyed the law, there would be less traffic jams.”

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