Kimberley motorists warned to avoid Big Hole road

The Sol Plaatje municipality has urged Kimberley motorists to avoid the road running next to one of its biggest tourism attractions, the Big Hole, for fears of a cave-in.

The tourist attraction consists of a big hole over an area of about 17ha, more than 200m deep, which was dug by thousands of diamond prospectors by hand, starting in 1871 and ending in 1914.

Municipal spokesperson Peet van der Walt said on Wednesday that various government departments will meet on the closure of part of Bultfontein Road, running past the Big Hole, next week.

”We cannot guarantee that the road will hold,” he said.

The municipality is already diverting heavy vehicles around the section after it announced earlier this month that it would close Bultfontein Road. The move was, however, criticised by business owners whose businesses were located in the affected area.

Van der Walt said the municipality, De Beers, the national Department for Transport, the National Road Agency and the provincial department of economic affairs and tourism will discuss the way forward on the closure of the road. A meeting with the local business community will then follow.

He said it is necessary to request motorists also to avoid the road. ”We cannot deny the fact that the road could be dangerous,” he said.

The Big Hole, over the years, has crept closer to Bultfontein Road due to soil and rain erosion. Authorities are scared that factors such as the vibration caused by heavy vehicles could lead to a cave-in of part of the hole. — Sapa

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