KNYSNA NEWS - The redevelopment of Gray Street, a major artery at the heart of the Knysna CBD, is roughly one-third complete according to the municipality, with the first section expected to open in the coming weeks.
Previously, now-suspended municipal manager Dr Sitembele Vatala said the R17-million reconstruction project would include the replacement of the old water pipeline, the total rebuilding of the road, parking, as well as the beautification of the area.
Work on Block A of Gray Street (between Waterfront Drive and Gordon Street) began in late February / early March this year, with the removal of the surface tar and further digging the first step towards a new, revitalised road.
However, only four weeks into the project it was hit by a major setback – lockdown. This has had a negative impact on the timeline of completion according to municipal spokesperson Christopher Bezuidenhoudt. "The national lockdown had a severe impact on the proposed programme," Bezuidenhoudt said.
"Covid-19 regulations shut the site down and delayed the project by two months. The new expected completion date is September 2021."
Despite this significant setback, project manager Irvin Erasmus has stated that everything is running smoothly outside the framework of the lockdown. "So far so good, we're about 90% complete with Block A, and it should be opened in the next 14 days or so," Erasmus said. "Lockdown saw us close site for 47 days so it is frustrating, but we haven't had any other issues and have begun work on Block B already."
Block B is the next section of Gray Street to be upgraded, stretching between Gordon and Trotter streets. Erasmus also stated he believes the opening of Block A could have a positive impact on the area, as it will "definitely" alleviate traffic pressure on the surroundings streets.
According to Bezuidenhoudt, the upgrading of sidewalks is included in the project, and unfortunately this could lead to the removal of some trees in Gray Street. "All trees that impede pedestrian movement or parking will be removed as identified in the streetscape design," he explained. The remainder of the street is being tackled on a block-by-block basis.
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