SANDF helps rebuild Durban’s M4 bridge


South African Army engineers are helping rebuild the M4 bridge over the Mdloti River in La Mercy after it was damaged by recent flooding in KwaZulu-Natal.

Numerous public roads and infrastructure suffered damage and disintegration in the April floods, prompting the deployment of the SANDF under Operation Chariot. As part of disaster relief efforts in the City of Ethekwini, a multi-disciplinary team of engineers and operators was assigned to support the Department of Transport in the repairing and rebuilding of roads and bridges, reports the SANDF’s Lieutenant Phuti Badimo.

Led by SA Army Construction Troop Commander, Captain Siyabonga Khumalo, the reconstruction of the Mdloti Bridge and the M4 highway in La Mercy is currently underway.

The contingent deployed consists of members from 1 Construction Regiment and 2 Field Engineering Regiment. Together, they form part of the SA Army Engineering Formation deployed for Operation Chariot, working together with the Department of Transport.

Khumalo and his team, who have been on site from 24 May, said there are intricate phases involved in the reconstruction of the bridge. “Upon assessment and the removal of the rubble that had remained, the process of upfilling and compacting will take place, which will then be followed by tarring”, he said.

The Acting Deputy Director Department of Transport eThekwini, Sizwe Mvelase had the following to say regarding the collaboration with the SA National Defence Force: “We are grateful for the support, especially as the Department of Transport. We are overstretched in terms of operators. The collaboration is assisting immensely in responding to the flood damages.”

“As a representative of the SA National Defence Force, it gives me great pride to serve and protect our people when they need us the most. We are doing our best to rehabilitate the affected areas in the city of eThekwini, one road at a time”, Khumalo said.

Meanwhile, the SA National Roads Agency on Friday said repairs to the section of the N2 over the uMhlanga River Bridge had been completed and all lanes were reopened to traffic. Repairs to the M4 and R102 are still underway.