Road and traffic headaches

Andre Loubser, Tokai

There are numerous anomalies with the maintenance of roads in the Constantia, Tokai and Wynberg areas. Some resemble third-world standards, while others seem to be over-maintained.

For example, Orpen Road – from the stone church to the intersection with Tokai Road – is bumpy. However, when it becomes Steenberg Road it’s unacceptably rough. The 200m stretch from Pollsmoor prison entrance to Steenberg Village is most unpleasant to use. Its bad enough to shake a vintage car to pieces!

Remarkably, too, the road either side of the Victoria Hospital entrance in Alphen Road Hill is unbelievably rough. If there’s one stretch of road that should be as smooth as a billiard table, this surely is it, as ambulances constantly deliver injured and sick people to the hospital.

Last year, a section of road between the Norval Foundation and the entrance to the Steenberg Golf Estate subsided, causing severe jolts to drivers. However, this has been repaired as evidenced by a new, darker strip of tar.

Meanwhile, the Blue Route/ M3, which always seems perfectly smooth, has been completely resurfaced numerous times during the past decade, particularly the stretch between Constantia and Wynberg Hill. And last year the road from the Alphen Road/ Main Road intersection to the bottom of Alphen Hill Road was resurfaced with an army of labourers and trucks. Why?

A major improvement in our valley has been the replacement of traffic lights with a roundabout at the new Constantia Emporium. Previously it was confusing as green and red lights could be seen simultaneously. There were times a car would start moving forwards and then brake when the driver realised he/ she was observing the wrong light. A feature of UK roads is numerous roundabouts, a clever and practical way to slow traffic and to keep it flowing. It also eliminates the chance of someone disobeying a red light and crashing into a car obeying the green light. Four-way stops are ridiculous and confusing. In fact, when the city of Welkom in the Free State was laid out in the early 1950s it followed the UK example of roundabouts throughout the city, ensuring a smooth traffic flow.

Surely members of the Western Cape government, road engineers, councillors, maintenance people and others responsible for an efficient and orderly Cape Town must travel along the roads mentioned on a daily basis. So why no action when they fall into disrepair?

Mayoral committee member for transport, Felicity Purchase responds:

The City maintains a road network of well over 9 500km in length and is continuously addressing the vast amount of road maintenance and rehabilitation which requires huge financial and human capital.

The department is aware of the condition of the roads mentioned and will be able to attend to these as soon as City-wide priorities and budget permit. Until then, we continue to undertake routine maintenance on the road network as and when required.

Studies have shown that circles/modern roundabouts are effective up to a certain maximum threshold of traffic volume. Thereafter, signals would offer a better all-round level of service. An example of this can be found at the V&A Waterfront where a large roundabout was recently removed and replaced with traffic signals. The queue lengths have reduced in the area since.

Where feasible, the City considers the implementation of roundabouts as an alternative to traffic signals.

Liz Brunette, Ward 62 councillor responds:

Alphen Hill will be resurfaced when the new casualty building at Victoria Hospital is complete. The M3 from Union Avenue to the bottom of Wynberg Hill; Constantia Main Road; Constantia Road; Gabriel Road in Plumstead, from Doordrift Road to Main Road; Alphen Drive with a new mini-circle at the Vineyard Road intersection; Herschel Walk; Trovato Link; Waterloo Road; and side streets in Wynberg were all resurfaced using a City transport budge.

It is ridiculous complaining about improved road quality.