The Eastern Cape had the fourth–highest fatalities in the country over Easter.
The Minister of Transport, Dr Blade Nzimande, and Eastern Cape MEC for Transport and Safety, Weziwe Tikana, led several road safety activation programmes in Port Elizabeth after the holiday period.
The MEC visited the Addo Road Bridge in Motherwell, a project of the South African National Roads Agency (SOC) Limited (SANRAL), where a group of volunteers formed a guard of honour and displayed road safety messages.
Tikana was later joined by the Minister on a visit to the family of a road accident victim in Missionvale and later visited the Raymond Mhlaba Indoor Sports Centre to meet with families who lost loved ones to road accidents and who are beneficiaries of the Road Accident Fund (RAF).
The activation formed part of the long weekend of Freedom Day and Workers’ Day celebrations on 1 May, and involved the Department’s agencies, RAF, Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC), Cross Boarder Road Transport Agency (CBRTA) and SANRAL.
A province with many road fatalities
The Minister’s visit to the Eastern Cape followed the release of the 2018 Preliminary Easter Road Safety report at the end of April.
The report indicated the province had the fourth-highest fatalities in the country with 59 people having lost their lives.
A RTMC report of 2015/16 outlined several hazardous locations and 11 of those locations are in Nelson Mandela Bay.
The MEC said: “We took a decision to come to this area amongst the areas identified on the RTMC report. The programme started on 24 April and we are closing it today. We are providing road safety education, road blocks, search and seizures, and we were also patrolling throughout the night.”
One of the focal areas highlighted in the report is pedestrian safety. The Province and the District identified Addo Road as one of the hazardous locations that required road safety intervention.
SANRAL has prioritized Addo Road and included it in its plans to effect traffic calming measures. This initiative demonstrates a perfect integration and collaboration of transport entities and law enforcement authorities working together with the community to improve service delivery in Road Safety.
Efforts made by the agency to reduce road fatalities and enhance pedestrian safety on Addo Road, were outlined by Craig Mclachlan, SANRAL Project Manager for the Eastern Cape.
Mclachlan said: “SANRAL is extending the dual carriageway in Motherwell to facilitate turning movements and improve various intersections to eliminate some of the conflicting traffic movements.
“SANRAL will also be providing pedestrian facilities alongside the dual carriageway sections in Motherwell to reduce motor vehicle-pedestrian conflict, and we will be improving the Motherwell N2 Interchange to improve the capacity of the interchange and try to eliminate the backing up of vehicles on the N2 during afternoon peak hour.”
The project value of the 27-month long road upgrade of the R335 from Motherwell to Addo is estimated at R780-million.
The project scope includes upgrading urban and rural road sections, and constructing new bridges over Coega and the Sundays River. This includes the extension of the current dual carriageway section through Motherwell, as well as improvements to the N2 St Georges / Motherwell interchange.
“We need to ensure that budget allocation to roads is not only used to construct new roads, we need to ensure that existing roads are maintained because if we don’t do so, these roads become a hazard,” said the Minister.
Minister Nzimande, the MEC and CEOs of the Department’s road entities and law enforcement officers also engaged with motorists, passengers and pedestrians on the N2 towards Colchester highlighting and emphasising the importance of their safety on the road during the long weekend.