City’s traffic headache

2017-08-03 14:21
Traffic congestion on Masukwana Street in the city centre on Wednesday afternoon.

Traffic congestion on Masukwana Street in the city centre on Wednesday afternoon. (Chelsea Pieterse)

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The City has urged motorists to seriously consider carpooling as an option as congestion levels in parts of town have become unbearable.

Last week Witness Warriors sent questions to the municipality after many readers complained about the increase in traffic at certain intersections in the city.

On Thursday last week, traffic and town-planning officials conducted an impromptu on-site analysis and determined that traffic volumes on Chota Motala Road and its intersections were unacceptably high.

The municipal traffic team focused on the Northern areas and monitored traffic signals along Chota Motala Road, especially between the intersection of Old Greytown Road and Otto’s Bluff Road.

Motorists travelling from Northdale, Eastwood, Copesville and Woodlands have raised their concerns on the growing traffic problem in the area.

Msunduzi municipal spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha said the City had long-term plans in the pipeline, which include widening existing roads, but she urged motorists to use alternate routes such as Manning Avenue and Ohrtmann Road when travelling from the Northern suburbs.

“Car ownership is growing every month, therefore building more roads will not be a 100% solution as those roads will also get congested,” she said.

But Mafumbatha said “experience” had proven that the best solution was for more people to use public transport and choose to carpool instead.

As part of long-term plans, Mafumbatha said that the Bombay Road extension, which links Chota Motala Road to Ohrtmann Road, is under “preliminary design”.

She said that Otto’s Bluff Road linking Woodlands to Connor Road is at the environmental impact analysis stage of an upgrading process, and they have plans to widen Ohrtmann Road.

Mafumbatha advised motorists that, although long-term plans were in place, short-term solutions would be to travel in groups and use public transport to their places of work.

She said technicians were still working on the timing of the traffic signals near Brookside Mall.

Motorists travelling from their suburban homes to their workplaces have made numerous rants on social media, sent e-mails to The Witness and made calls to the municipality.

On the Witness Warriors Facebook page, Orin Pillay said that traffic from Woodlands was usually at a standstill.

“It is worse ever since the schools reopened ... it takes us an hour to get out from Woodlands and that is with traffic cops controlling traffic,” Pillay said.

Ivy Terry Adams said the gridlocked traffic in Eastwood was “unbearable”.

One frustrated motorist, Garth Gopi, said the traffic congestion is “a symptom of a dysfunctional municipal traffic department”.

Gopi said the traffic worsened through the years and was only as a result of “poor planning and non-existent management” from City leaders.

Witness readers took to Facebook recently to air their views on their traffic congestion

• Martin Gee Godfrey: “As long as we have a dysfunctional municipal police department, we will have chaos on the roads. PMB motorists break virtually every law in the book on their daily travels, from racing through orange and red robots, not stopping at stop streets to crossing barrier lines, the list is endless. There is never a policeman when one is needed save for when they are escorting ‘prominent’ citizens or the occasional abnormal load or when they are hiding behind the speed cameras.”

• Heather Stuart-Christie: “If I had R10 for every vehicle that went through a red robot I would be rich.”

• Ridwaan Dawood: “Guys we have a huge problem from the northern suburbs and this is due to the incorrect synchronisation of the robots from the Sasol garage on Bombay Road leading into town. I travel daily from Newholmes to the N3 offramp and to Mkondeni and my drive took 15 minutes maximum. Now it takes one hour. Someone needs to investigate the synchronisation of these robots. How can traffic change so drastically over a month?”

• Krithika Deepnarain: “It seems like afternoons are becoming just as bad. No road markings in Boshoff and Langalibalele streets. Drivers are caught in the middle of the intersection and this becomes an invitation for everyone to do as they please. Boshoff robots changed three times before we even moved an inch!!! Masukwana Street and Manning Avenue are just as crazy in afternoons.”

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  traffic congestion

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