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Media Release by Councillor Stuart Pringle

31 August 2015

MEDIA RELEASE BY COUNCILLOR STUART PRINGLE

Subcouncil 8 updates: implementation of Sir Lowry’s Pass safety measures

During the past three years Subcouncil 8 has been following up on the issue of implementation of various safety measures along Sir Lowry’s Pass.

The traffic volume on the N2 over Sir Lowry’s Pass is around 18 000 vehicles per day, of which around 2000 are heavy vehicles. Brake failure of heavy vehicles poses a significant danger on the steep downhill sections of the road.  Investigations were done into the possibility of constructing arrestor beds to bring such vehicles under control in the event of brake failure. A location along the South African National Roads Agency (SANRAL) section of the N2 was considered most appropriate to accommodate runaway heavy vehicles from the pass away from the intersection, but this was not accepted by SANRAL.

Subcouncil 8 has been consistently engaging with both SANRAL and the Western Cape Provincial Government, who both have jurisdiction over portions of the road over the pass, on how best to address this matter.

The subcouncil has received inputs and comments from the Western Cape Provincial Government, but no feedback from SANRAL.

During July the Provincial Minister of Transport, Donald Grant, arranged for the consultants investigating the proposed construction of an arrestor bed at the bottom of Sir Lowry’s Pass to report to the August subcouncil meeting on the progress of their work.

At the subcouncil meeting on 27 August 2015, Mr Noel Petersen of Aurecon (the consultants) provided the following information:

  • Aurecon were appointed to do the investigation at the end of 2014 and the investigation commenced in January 2015 in order to determine the location of the arrestor bed. A position about 800 metres above the traffic signals at the intersection of the N2 and the Sir Lowry’s Pass Road has been identified. Engagements with Cape Nature and the Western Cape Department of Environmental Affairs have already commenced as the site is on land belonging to Cape Nature.
  • The consultants anticipate that the environmental process will take up to nine months and that it will be completed by 25 March 2016. In the meantime the design has already commenced and is nearly completed
  • Construction is anticipated to commence at the end of May 2016 and should be completed by end September 2016.

Other planned safety improvements are to introduce average speed enforcement over Sir Lowry’s Pass to a point close to the intersection. This will hopefully be more effective than fixed enforcement cameras and have a traffic calming effect on light vehicles. Signage on Sir Lowry’s Pass could also be improved to provide more positive guidance to heavy vehicle drivers and the Provincial Government is engaging with SANRAL in this regard.

The subcouncil has urged the consultants to see what could be done to shorten the process even further as the pass is considered very dangerous, and in the absence of any safety measures being put in place by SANRAL, the Western Cape government is the only hope residents have that the road might be made safer.

Media enquiries:

Cllr Stuart Pringle

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