Donald Grant, the Minister of Transport & Public Works, informed us on Monday 22 May that 2.4km of the Swartberg Pass was severely damaged on 9 April 2017, which resulted in an emergency situation and the road being closed on the Prince Albert side of the Pass. Prince Albert can still be reached via Meiringspoort R427 or via the N1.
Gamkaskloof is still accessible from the Oudtshoorn side of the Pass.
The Department of Transport & Public Works authorised an assessment. This was completed 3 days after the flooding and concluded that the road had to be divided into 13 sections to be repaired.
Certain parts of the damaged road have heritage aspects and therefore final approval from Western Cape Heritage had to be obtained before any work could start.
The Department of Transport & Public Works will undertake the repairs, the process as well as the cost (which is quoted to be between 25 and 30 million rand)
As soon as all approvals have been obtained, work will immediately start on the Pass.
It is estimated that within 3 – 4 months, there might be one way traffic available every 2 hours, and that 2 way traffic should be accessible between 10 – 12 months from the start of the project. The final date of completion of repairs should be around 15 months from the start of the project.
The project would start as soon as Heritage Western Cape’s input was received.
He acknowledged that tourism is the lifeline of our town, which influences job opportunities and so much more. He reassured us that the repair of the Pass was a priority for his Department. Juan Prodehl, the Provincial road engineer based in Oudtshoorn and Kobus Theron of the Central Karoo District Municipality would oversee the project.