Pedestrian safety to be improved

2018-06-21 06:01
=Animals have been a major cause for accidents on the R75. Most of the newly erected fencing to especially keep cattle off the road have been removed by thieves.      Photo:HEILIE COMBRINCK

=Animals have been a major cause for accidents on the R75. Most of the newly erected fencing to especially keep cattle off the road have been removed by thieves. Photo:HEILIE COMBRINCK

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THE R316 million roadworks project on one of Nelson Mandela Bay’s primary arterial roads between Port Elizabeth and Uitenhage and Despatch has reached its half-way mark.

This is according to the South African National Roads Agency (SANRAL), which is responsible for the rehabilitation and safety measure improvements on the R75 road.

SANRAL took ownership of the R75 road after it was declared a national road in April 2012.

Mbulelo Peterson, SANRAL Southern Region Manager said, “The average daily traffic on this road ranges from between approximately 6 100 and 7 100 vehicles per day in the northbound direction, and an average of between 5 500 and 5 900 vehicles per day in the southbound direction.

“The average percentage of heavy vehicles to make use of the road is around 8.5%. This means that around 500 trucks use this road in each direction every day.

“Current construction is focused on rehabilitating the previously poor condition of the road surface as well as improving pedestrian safety, specifically for scholars crossing the very busy route,” said Peterson.

Pedestrian facility improvements are a major requirement of this project as pedestrian movements are largely uncontrolled and unsafe.

In addition, this section of road has been recognised as having some of the highest pedestrian accident numbers in the Eastern Cape.

The project was sub-divided into

two phases:

• Phase 1, which is currently in construction consists of road rehabilitation and minor safety measures to improve pedestrian mobility and safety along the R75 between residential and industrial areas.

• Phase 2, will deal with the major safety improvements on the project. It will consist of an upgrade to the Commercial Road interchange and the construction of a pedestrian bridge. This phase is expected to be constructed in the next three years.

Road rehabilitation works

“Due to the poor condition of the road and the strategic importance of this road as a corridor between Uitenhage and Port Elizabeth, it was important to rehabilitate the road structure to last for a further 20 years,” said Peterson.

“The rehabilitation works include the recycling of the existing road substructure and applying a new asphalt surfacing.

“The asphalt surfacing is very durable, will improve the rideability of the road and reduce noise pollution.”

Drainage infrastructure

Drainage infrastructure along the entire route will be improved. Drainage infrastructure improvements include the:

• shaping or clearing of blocked drainage systems;

• installation of kerbs at all intersections and along the first 5km of the road;

• installation of subsurface drainage in cut areas; and

• installation of concrete side drains in cut areas.

New pedestrian walkways

Dangerous conditions along the R75 including uncontrolled crossing of pedestrians, animals and vehicles have been a major cause for concern.

An anti-climb fence system is being constructed along the R75 road reserve where no fences are currently in place. This will help to prevent vehicles and pedestrians from gaining access to the busy R75 road at any point.

An assessment of the road in March 2016 revealed that the existing pedestrian walkways were substandard and in a very poor condition.

Additionally, at many sections along the route there was no presence of pedestrian walkways. Therefore, new pedestrian walkways will be constructed along the length of the route. The walkways will generally be 2m wide, reduced to 1.5m where limited pedestrian traffic is expected and space is restricted.

Removing of guardrails

Due to level changes to the road following rehabilitation, all existing guardrails will be removed and if re-usable, will be stored for re-erection.

New and re-usable guardrails will be installed adjacent to both sides of the north and southbound carriageways to prevent vehicular traffic from making illegal crossings of the road and to prevent U-turn manoeuvres in the median.

Openings will be provided in the median guardrails for emergency vehicle access and pedestrian crossings.

The implementation of road safety measures and rehabilitation of the National Route R75 Section 1, constitutes 13 kilometres and will create work for a minimum of 37 local SMMEs between 1CE PE and 6 CE PE CIDB grading within the Nelson Mandela Bay.

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