The bridge that leads nowhere

Road closure signs have been thrown over at one the slipways that leads up to the bridge in the south of Bloemfontein. PHOTO: Justine Fortuin

After several promises of opening dates, petitions and even a picket, the Vereeniging Extension Road – between the Ferreira Road intersection and the Oliver Tambo intersection – remains closed. “The bridge goes over to a road to nowhere because the road has not been opened,” said ward councillor David McKay.

McKay launched a petition and received over 1 500 signatures from residents and handed it over to the Mangaung Metro Municipality (MMM), requesting that the road be opened by 15 February 2023.

“It is very sad that we have to draw all the people out and start a petition to open something that is costing every single resident that uses this road frequently. It costs residents up to R1500 more out of their pocket per month,” he said. According to McKay, the road is more than 90% complete and the Acting City Manager, Tebogo Motlashuping, said the road will open before 15 February.

Bloemfontein Courant reached out to two businesses that have been impacted by the closure of the road and here is what they had to say: Johanita Kruger from Bloem Skips said they spend so much time and money on diesel on the alternative route.

“At this stage, we drive from Langenhoven Park and back – about 21km – and we drive it plus or minus 10 times in one day. You can’t raise your prices because the clients think you’re getting out of line, so it’s not profitable after all because you spend most of your money on diesel. I also think once the bridge is open, people will dump less rubbish because the alternative route is dangerous. Once the bridge is open, they can also start repairing the routes and make them drivable for people again.”

Another business owner, Jannie Bredenkamp, said they have to travel to the South Landfill Site multiple times a day and the extra diesel costs also affect them heavily. “The alternative route is about 18km and that is about 3 litres more diesel for each vehicle.”

Justine Fortuin