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Seweweekspoort Basic Assessment

Project Description:

The Seweweekspoort Pass is a 17km long gravel road (MR309) that meanders through the Swartberg Mountains, linking the towns of Laingsburg and Ladismith. The pass, which was completed in 1862, was constructed as a ‘boer road’ along the valley bottom and course of the Huis River through the narrow Seweweekspoort. The road was originally constructed to serve as a link between inhabitants on either side of the Swartberg. The pass is now incorporated in the Swartberg Nature Reserve that is joined to the Gamkapoort Nature Reserve and Towerkop Nature Reserve. Seweweekspoort Pass crosses the Huis River about 30 times along the 17km stretch, making the road susceptible to flood damage. Overtopping of the road leads to damage to both the causeways and sections of road at a number of the crossings. At certain sections, where the river runs parallel to the road, flooding causes the road surface material to be completely washed away. The Eden District Municipality and Central Karoo District Municipality have identified which structures require repair work or upgrading. Major upgrading works would need to be undertaken at 27 sites. Two sites would require new retaining walls whereas the remaining sites would require new culverts and causeways. The proposed strategy to prevent disruption of traffic flow would entail bypasses at each of the 25 river-crossing sites. A Basic Assessment Process in terms of the National Environmental Management Act (Act No. 107 of 1998) needs to be conducted for the proposed project due several activities which are triggered under GN R. 983 and GN R. 985 due to the nature of the upgrading works.