‘Accident waiting to happen’

2015-11-17 11:30
Traffic congestion at the Willowton and Chota Motala roads intersection.

Traffic congestion at the Willowton and Chota Motala roads intersection. (Ian Carbutt)

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Pietermaritzburg - Do we wait for something serious to happen before we sit up and do something about it?

That’s the question Forest Hill Primary School principal Basil Manuel has asked about the priorities of the municipality with regards to the dangerous traffic situation on the road outside his school.

Just months after someone knocked down a traffic light on the Raisethorpe side of the intersection of Chota Motala and Willowton roads, last week the only remaining traffic light was also knocked down, now causing major traffic congestion there.

“It’s an accident waiting to happen,” said Manuel.

But the municipality says it will take another fortnight before the traffic lights are repaired.

“Everybody knows the high traffic volume at this intersection. With school children trying to cross the road during peak times, it is even more dangerous than ever,” said Manuel.

He said Msunduzi Municipality was notified continuously about the traffic situation and the dangers the pupils face daily.

Manuel added that apart from the traffic lights not being operational, speeding motorists in a hurry to beat the red light pose a big threat.

“The municipality is playing with the lives of our children. These traffic lights needed to be sorted out the moment they went down. It is dangerous and irresponsible,” added Manuel.

Frustrated motorist Riaan Jansen van Rensburg added his voice to the cause, saying that he felt most sorry for the pupil patrol officer who places his own life in danger as well.

“The intersection is very dangerous for the school children crossing the road and the unfortunate gentleman that has to assist them is risking his life every day. I find it unacceptable that there is no traffic officer on duty at this intersection,” said Jansen van Rensberg.

He called upon the traffic department to appoint a permanent pointsman at the “high-risk and ill-disciplined” intersection, especially during peak times.

“The risk with the school children during morning peak traffic is just too high,” said Jansen van Rensberg.

Msunduzi municipal spokesperson Nqobile Madonda said the overhead traffic poles would only be delivered in two weeks.

Madonda added that motorists drove recklessly, “more especially in the vicinity of schools”.

“The municipality will continue to ensure visibility and enforcement as practically possible or within the resources we have available at our disposal,” she said.

Madonda added that a static speed camera was located close to the intersection and law enforcement operations are conducted there on an ad hoc basis.

She added that no traffic officers would be deployed to the intersection as a pupil patrol was present to assist the pupils.

“The scholar patrols person is qualified and competent and experienced to undertake his task at this intersection,” added Madonda.

• kailene.pillay@witness.co.za

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  traffic

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