Dangerous crossing has residents up in arms
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CAPE TOWN - The absence of road safety measures along Jacobs Bay crossing between Saldanha Bay and Vredenburg has residents feeling outraged.
Residents report that around 30 deaths occurred in the region in August and September alone. They have started a petition to improve safety by having traffic signals or a traffic circle installed at the Jacobs Bay crossing.
Patriotic Alliance deputy provincial leader Sammy Claassen said that all lives matter, including the lives of road users, pedestrians and passengers on West Coast roads.
“There is a high rate of fatal accidents at the Jacobs Bay crossing between Saldanha and Vredenburg that is being overlooked. In the latest accident two people were killed at this dangerous crossing because of insufficient infrastructure,” Claassen said.
“We call on the authorities to act speedily and immediately. We condemn the inaction and lack of response from the Western Cape Department of Transport regarding the numerous calls from local people, stakeholders and the Saldanha Bay Municipality.
“The fact that the province ignored calls for road safety proposals from the Saldanha Bay Municipality is a matter of great concern. These road engineers in the Western Cape must account and stop with the ’Big Boss’ mentality. We will no longer tolerate this attitude of road engineers in the Western Cape. We want safer road crossings on the West Coast and we won't stop until our roads are safe,” added Claassen.
Public Safety Mayco member Andre Truter said that given the urgency of the matter, the department and the officials were working tirelessly to get this issue resolved.
“I think first of all I would like to clarify that, the road is a provincial road and when Saldanha municipality tried to step in 18 months ago by erecting some mitigating things there like rumble strips, it was removed because it was not up to provincial specs.
“I’ve been petitioning provinces for the last three years for that crossing, yet we are where we are. I’ve worked tirelessly, long before the accidents, because honestly it is absolutely tragic that people lost their lives there. However, given the urgency of the matter, I’ve spoken to the MEC on how we can expedite this between the departments and the officials, and we are currently working on it,” said Truter
Department of Transport and Public Works spokesperson Jandré Bakker said they were aware of the petition and seeing to it that a structure was put in place in the area.
“The Department of Transport and Public Works is aware of the petition. Traffic signal control is no guarantee that accidents will not occur. The Saldanha Bay Municipality is in constant discussion with the Provincial Department of Transport and Public Works to further improve road safety at this intersection. The intention is to finalise the requirements and a memorandum of agreement to install warning lights,” said Bakker.