Motorists desperate to dodge heavy traffic are running the risk of prosecution by mounting pavements and negotiating concrete barriers to travel on a virgin stretch of Saxdowns Road, in Kuils River.
A panel van did just that, followed, a few minutes later, by a motorcyclist belting down the road at full throttle, as Northern News watched, in the company of Kuils River pensioner Willie Bouwer, on Thursday October 27.
Mr Bouwer had alerted us to the fact that while the new road looks finished, part of it is still not open. But that’s not stopping motorists impatient for the road to do what it’s meant to, ease traffic from Kuils River to the northern suburbs.
Over at another part of Saxdowns Road concrete-filled barrels have been positioned in the road close to the Alta Du Toit School.
These are lighter than the concrete barrier blocks further back and have simply been pushed aside by motorists.
Later we saw a forklift moving the barrels back into the road, in what appears to be a relentless game of cat and mouse with motorists.
But why was the road closed just a few hundred metres up from where it crosses Bottelary Road? The foreman directing the forklift operator was not giving any answers. He ignored us at first, then said: “It is illegal to take photos of me. Please contact the municipality.”
Mr Bouwer, who lives close to Saxdowns Road, said he makes frequent visits to the open part of the road to check on the progress.
He said he had watched dozens of motorists with high-clearance vehicles drive over the pavement to continue on the road which connects with Bottelary Road further up.
Travelling on the new road to Durbanville, for example, shaves 8km off the trip and bypasses the traffic crunch on Amandel Road where it becomes a single-lane carriageway.
In July, the City told Northern News that the new section of Saxdowns Road, the stretch linking Langerverwacht and Bottelary roads, would be open in “the next three weeks” (“New road will help ease traffic,” July 20). That should have meant the end of August at the latest.
At the time, the City said the R57.5 million road project, which will also makeAmandel Road a dual carriageway between Sandalwood and Bottelary Roads, was “a condition of the development approval”.
The City had contributed R21m to the total project and the developer had carried the balance.
The Saxdowns Road project, transport mayoral committee member Brett Herron said at the time, would build a new 1.8km section of Saxdowns Road as well as a bridge over the Bottelary River, and, most importantly for traffic-fatigued northern suburbs motorists, it would
“assist greatly in alleviating traffic congestion in this area. “
But motorists will have to wait a little longer. Last week, Mr Herron told Northern News Saxdowns Road would remain closed for now.
“The section of Saxdowns Road, between the intersections with Helderrant Road and Church Street, is closed to traffic until such time as the new section of Saxdowns Road (the section from the Haasendal development to the existing Saxdowns Road at the intersection with Halleria Street and the new bridge over the Bottelary River) is open to traffic.
“This is to prevent rat-racing through the adjacent suburbs of Haasendal, Amandalrug and Rouxville.”
The City was “eager” to open the new section of Saxdowns Road, where it crosses the Bottelary River in Kuils River, but it could only sign off on the project once it was
“fully satisfied with the standard of work”, and it had asked the consulting engineer and contractor to “address some issues”.
Mr Herron said the City was very much aware of the relief the new road could bring to traffic congestion in the area, but it could not take short cuts or “open the bridge to traffic unless it is safe to do so”.
He said those moving the road barriers were breaking the law and putting their lives in danger.