Work on the upgrading of the stormwater and sewerage systems in Hermanus Old Town will go ahead as planned. This despite objections from several business owners who say their businesses have already suffered irreparable damage due to the unrest last year and the ongoing economic difficulties that the country is faced with.

According to the Overstrand Municipality’s Director of Infrastructure and Planning, Stephen Müller, the contract for the completion of the Bientang’s Cave sewerage pump station was awarded to a contractor on 8 March.

“The contractor now has until 2 April to submit a draft programme, guarantee and insurance for approval by the municipality. Once the draft programme is accepted, a meeting will be held to inform all the interested and affected parties in the Old Town,” he said.

The primary component of the outstanding work on the Bientang’s sewerage pump project is the construction of a new rising main pipeline along a short section of Marine Drive, then via Market Street to Main Road where it will connect to the existing system. “The upgrade of the sewerage pump station itself, as well as the longest and deepest section of the pipeline along Marine Drive, have essentially been completed,” Müller said.

The budget for this project is only available in the 2018/19 financial year and therefore the work must be completed between the beginning of April and 30 June. Work on this project started in July 2018 and was put on hold in December last year, following a meeting with businesses and property owners in the area. According to business owners the work would have negatively affected their businesses during the busy December/January tourist season.

According to Müller, pedestrian traffic will be accommodated at all times during the last phase of this project. Sections of Marine Drive and Main Road will be closed for relatively short periods to complete the work. Market Street and the parking lot next to Main Road will be closed for vehicles during construction. This closure will be dependent on soil conditions but could last up to two months.

As far as possible, pedestrian traffic will be permitted throughout the construction. Work will be halted during the Hi-Tec Walkerbay Xtreme and the surfaces will be temporarily rehabilitated for use during the event. The Xtreme takes place from 26 to 28 April.

In addition to this project, work will also start this winter on the upgrading of the stormwater system and the first phase of the Old Town Revitalisation project in High Street.

From May to June a section of the new stormwater pipe will be installed in Main Road from the Dirkie Uys Street intersection to the entrance of the Hamewith apartment block. During this time the revitalisation of High Street, from the Woolworths parking area to the Cycle Café, will take place.

The revitalisation will include the replacement of the tarred road surface with cobblestones and widening the pavements to allow for the pedestrianisation of High Street.

According to Müller, during the installation of the stormwater pipe in Main Road, one of three road closure options can be implemented:

  • Close Main Road for traffic from the intersection with Dirkie Uys Street to the entrance of Hamewith apartments. Traffic coming from the Eastcliff side of town will be redirected to Dirkie Uys Street. Only residents in the area will be allowed entrance to Main Road from a westerly direction.
  • Close the westbound traffic lane. From a westerly direction only residents will be allowed to enter Main Road beyond the intersection with Marine Drive.
  • Close the westbound lane for traffic and operate a stop-and-go system to allow traffic in both directions.

“Pedestrian access will be maintained on the sidewalks for as long as possible. During the upgrades in High Street, vehicles will be limited to residents only. Pedestrian access to High Street will be limited but will be managed in the road reserve where possible,” said Müller.

In the five months from July to December the installation of a stormwater pipe will take place in Dirkie Uys Street as well as in High Street from The Cycle Café to Mitchell Square and from the Hamewith entrance to Marine Drive. At the same time the revitalisation of the rest of High Street will take place.

During that time, Dirkie Uys Street will operate as a one-way for vehicles travelling in a westerly direction. Only residents’ vehicles will have access to High Street and pedestrian access will be limited.

A total of R3,2 million was made available in the current budget for the revitalisation of Hermanus Old Town, with a further R5,5 million provided for in the 2019/20 draft budget.

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