The City’s Transport and Urban Development Authority (TDA) is gearing up to keep a closer eye on drivers of over-height vehicles who disregard the warnings issued by the 3D laser detection system and subsequently crash into low-lying bridges.
“The railway bridge crossing in Atlantic Road, Muizenberg, is known for vehicular crashes mainly because road users often underestimate the height of their vehicles when driving under the bridge,” said councillor Eddie Andrews in a statement on Thursday (13 September).
“Since the installation of this Intelligent Transport System in 2016, we have seen a significant reduction in the number of over-height vehicles getting stuck or crashing into the bridge. However, despite the numerous warning signboards, we still average two cases per month but these are two too many, considering the inconvenience and the risk to public safety.
“We therefore encourage drivers to please adhere to the height restrictions and warnings so that we can bring the tally to zero. We have installed CCTV cameras so that we can monitor and take action against drivers who are disregarding the warnings,” said Andrews.
The first phase of this system which was completed in 2017 saw a reduction in the number of crashes, and this led to the subsequent roll-out of phase two along Baden Powell Drive.
The 3D laser detection system measures the height of every vehicle approaching the bridge. Should it detect that the highest point of a vehicle in either of the two lanes is greater than 2.5 metres from the road surface, a warning system is activated which in turn triggers two bright orange flashing beacons on a warning signboard.
The beacons remain flashing for about 30 seconds to indicate to the driver that an alternate route should be used and that the vehicle is too high to pass under the railway bridge.
In addition to the warning beacons, two high-definition CCTV camera have been installed to ensure that the system is working efficiently and the footage can be used to assist in prosecuting drivers who ignore the sign and subsequently crash into the bridge.
“The City has invested approximately R200,000 for this 3D laser detection system which is a small price to pay if it improves the safety of the public who use these roads and prevents at least half of the crashes that have taken place at this bridge over the years,” said Andrews.
“In addition to the safety aspect, an incident of this nature causes massive inconvenience and places unnecessary pressure on existing resources that are much-needed elsewhere in the city.
“For example, Traffic Services will need to be deployed to manage and divert the traffic while the vehicle is on site as this bridge is located on a busy arterial. This inconvenience, including traffic delays, can last for hours as it is very difficult to remove an over-height vehicle that is stuck under the bridge and the vehicle will need to be turned around,” he said.
Andrews added that the city will continue to monitor the success of these two systems going forward.
“In the meantime, drivers are urged to obey the warning signs so that they can ensure their safety and the safety of other roads to avoid the inconvenience that comes along with incidents of this nature. If the yellow beacons are flashing, please take the alternative route; it is the safe thing to do,” he said.