New arrestor ‘not possible’

2008-05-15 00:00

The public have called for the building of another arrestor bed on the Town Hill stretch of the N3 highway, but the SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) is adamant that this is impossible.

The public outcry follows a crash in which a truck driver was burnt to death on Monday after his brake failed.

The accident stirred a public debate about the real cause of the accident and about the condition of the arrestor bed, and raised questions about the lack of another arrestor bed in the area.

Further investigations are under way to determine the cause of the brake failure and the conditions of the arrestor bed.

Witness readers proposed that an old arrestor bed in the area should be rebuilt, but Sanral regional manager Gunyaziwe Makaula said it cannot be done.

"I agree that a second arrestor bed would be useful, but it is impossible because we are restricted by space." The topography of the area does not allow for the building of another bed.

He said the disused arrestor bed does not meet the required standards. "It was built as a temporary measure when the existing arrestor bed was under construction."

Responding to comments about the accident, truck driver Christopher Willie said the brake failure might have occurred before the truck reached the truck stop. He explained that if a truck has a heavy load the possibility of mechanical failure in the braking system on a hill is higher. "It is not easy driving down that hill and I think it is unfair to say the accident was caused by poor driving."

Willie applauded his colleague for avoiding collision with other vehicles. "I applaud the guy for giving his life to save other drivers. I would do the same thing if I was in his situation. I would drive on to the bank — it would be the only option."

He also supports the idea of another arrestor bed.

Makaula said the existing arrestor bed is designed to stop a vehicle driving slower than 100 km/h. "If a vehicle is driving at a speed exceeding 100 km/h, it would not dock. Unfortunately, we cannot make it longer than it is due to space limitations."

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