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Tuesday Jul 10, 2012

Barriers on boulevard to keep drivers in line

Cape Town will be erecting solid islands along Nelson Mandela Boulevard to prevent motorists from crossing back on to the freeway after using the slipway roads to bypass gridlocked traffic.

Safety and Security MEC, JP Smith, discussing the meaasures with city officials.

Traffic authorities have received numerous complaints about motorists and taxi drivers forcing their way back on to Nelson Mandela Boulevard after using the slipways along the busy road.

JP Smith, mayoral committee member for safety and security, inspected the area with officials of the transport, roads and stormwater department on Friday.

Ideas coming from the inspection include the building of solid islands as well as putting in raised barriers where there are solid white lines now.

Along Hospital Bend, flexible poles will be used. These will snap back after being hit and will cause "minimal damage" to vehicles.

Smith said another common complaint they received was motorists crossing over several lanes along Hospital Bend.

Here, the flexible poles will also be used.

Another option was "road studs". These are already used on some city roads, but Smith said they would be raised to make it difficult to cross over.

"This comes from the constant complaints we have been receiving from the public about road behaviour in this area," he said.

Officials of the transport, roads and stormwater department would start assessing the project and from there timelines would be decided on, said Smith.

In a two-hour operation earlier this month, which focused in part on Hospital Bend, 1 400 fines were issued.

During the afternoon-peak operation, more than 200 motorists were fined for crossing over the solid lines.

Most of the drivers were in their private vehicles, with 215 offenders being caught in their "sedan passenger vehicles".

Fifty-two taxi drivers and four truck drivers were also fined for the same offence. The fines just for that offence were worth R273 000.

Authorities said it was causing chaos and they received a constant stream of complaints from other motorists.

And although the variable message system urged drivers to choose the correct lane well in advance, motorists appeared to ignore these warnings. ItÂ’s a R500 fine.

During another peak-hour operation in April, 256 motorists were fined for ignoring the channelising lines. Of those, 38 taxi drivers and two truck drivers were among those fined.

In total, 837 traffic fines were issued along Hospital Bend during the operation.

In another two-hour operation in May, 700 traffic fines were issued; 202 were for "disobeying the channelising lines".

In March, just more than 600 traffic fines were issued along the same route during one operation. Of these, 206 were for ignoring the channelising lane.

After the March operation, officers noted that private motorists were the top offenders, racking up far more fines than public transport operators.

Cape Argus

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