Chota Motala a holiday

2010-12-03 00:00

WITH schools breaking up, the annual festive season traffic rush is about to start.

Despite electronic evidence that most drivers break the law by speeding through the dangerous Chota Motala/N3 construction site (The Witness, November 24), the Department of Transport has declined to install electronic recording equipment there.

A traffic study organised by The Witness recently found that every truck and 97% of passenger vehicles were speeding through the construction zone.

The data were recorded with integrated intelligent imaging technology.

Barry Fryer-Dudley, managing director of the company that did the study, Licence Plate Recognition cc, called the N3 construction site “a death trap waiting for a serious accident to occur”.

“Only sustained, real-time monitoring ... will prevent a bloodbath in December,” he said.

“To help prevent a single accident or life lost needlessly,” he offered to install, maintain and monitor the equipment, and issue fines in co-operation with authorities during the December holidays ●— all at no cost.

So far, authorities have not responded to his offer.

Asked how the Transport Department plans to prevent accidents on this dangerous stretch of N3 during the holidays, spokesperson Kwanele Ncalane said, “The department is of the firm view that automated enforcement through this construction section is of little or no consequence, but believes that firm, immediate law enforcement is necessary ...”

Ncalane said that when offenders are identified, traffic officers will pull the motorists over in areas away from the construction site where law enforcement can be done safely.

“The department … continues to engage with the contractors … and they have together put in place measures to ensure the safety of motorists travelling through this section.

“These include ensuring visibility of traffic officers, placing adequate advance warning and signage to assist motorists to pass safely through (Chota Matola).”

Ncalane said they jointly had a plan to manage traffic over the holiday period when construction work shuts down.

“However, we appeal to drivers to take care and adhere to the rules of the road.”

A spokesperson for the SA National Road Traffic Agency Limited, which is responsible for the N3, said it has done everything necessary in terms of engineering and safety to ensure that the N3 will be safe to travel on during the Christmas break. These measures including signposting and training traffic safety officers.

• The Witness asked for comment from the Msunduzi traffic department, which is supposedly jointly responsible for the section of the N3 concerned, but none was received by the time of going to press.

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