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Crossings now safer

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These upgrades came as a result of the alarming number of fatal accidents along the route

Picture: Soraya Crowie

WITH only the finishing touches remaining, the Northern Cape Department of Roads and Public Works has welcomed upgrades to Kimberley’s notorious “killer crossings” along the R31 and are confident that these developments will contribute towards safer conditions for motorists and pedestrians alike.

Over the course of a year the upgrades to the three, high-order, at-grade intersections – where the N8, N12 and R357 respectively cross the R31 – have seen them transformed from two-way, stop-controlled intersections to 50m diameter, two-lane roundabouts.

Street lights have also been installed at each of these traffic circles and their approaches to improve visibility.

“The project is in its finalisation stage,” spokesperson for the provincial Department of Roads and Public Works, Crystal Robertson, said.

“We are positive that the improved and upgraded intersections (which were previously classified as high accident zones) will contribute to much safer roads.”

These upgrades came as a result of the alarming number of fatal accidents along the route, resulting in a massive public outcry and demands for additional measures to ensure public safety.

During a meeting with stakeholders in 2016, Sanral’s manger for the western region (Northern and Western Cape), Kobus van der Walt, explained that Sanral had explored various options to reduce the number of fatalities at the notorious crossroads and had determined that traffic circles and the installation of adequate street lighting all the way along the R31 were likely to render the best results, pointing out that accidents occurred most frequently at dawn and dusk when visibility is poor.

He also explained that an intersection has 24 pedestrian and 32 vehicle conflict points while a traffic circle has only eight pedestrian and eight vehicle conflict points, hence making it the safest option.

Sanral have been mandated to do the upgrades of the intersections at the N12 and N8, as national roads, while the crossing of the N12 and R31 falls under the jurisdiction of the Northern Cape Department of Roads and Public Works.

“The design of the traffic circles adds to the beautification as you enter the Diamond City,” Robertson pointed out.

“Pedestrians and cyclists will now have increased safety due to the newly-constructed, surfaced sidewalks and pedestrian crossings.

“The newly-erected street lighting will improve visibility and reduce the risk of accidents especially during the night.

“We had no fatalities during the construction period and we thank the road users for their patience and for adhering to the safety instructions of the flagmen on site.”