‘Inappropriate’ restriction signs vanish
Two weight restriction traffic sign boards at both ends of the historic Seven Passes road between Saasveld and Wilderness Heights disappeared overnight last week, after the George Herald began making enquiries to the Department of Transport and Public Works about their presence.
The boards indicated that access was allowed for light vehicles only, and that a weight restriction of 2 tons applied. However, according to the departmental spokesperson Byron la Hoe, the restriction was not enforceable and were of "informative / guidance nature" only.
This fact irked a regular motorist on the route, John McIldowie, who sent a photograph to the newspaper in 2014 of large trucks that were stuck on a sharp bend in the road. At the time, a similar weight restriction sign was up at the George side of the pass and when the newspaper queried this, the authorities' comment was that they could not prosecute as the signs were not legal traffic signs.
McIldowie says, "We have now gone through a year of road closure while this section of the road was upgraded and resurfaced. Surely someone would have thought to get legal traffic signs installed, but apparently not."
La Hoe responds, "Due to the historical and scenic importance of the route, heavy vehicles are discouraged from using the route, although they are not actually prohibited. The road has been used as an alternative route on a number of occasions when it has been necessary to close the N2 between George and Wilderness, and continues to form part of the strategic road network."
The signs had not been officially approved.
"No study has been done to determine vehicle restrictions. I have just been advised that the consultant is presently assessing the geometrics of the road to determine whether there should be any length limits for vehicles making use of the route. This study should be completed soon, at which stage a decision will be made whether to restrict the road in terms of length through regulatory signage or not."
La Hoe says that the contractor had been instructed to remove the original sign (that was up before the road works) and was awaiting instruction from the department as to whether the new signs should be removed.
"Whoever erected the unauthorised white signs, may have taken note of the commotion and quietly removed their signs as well."
No study has been done to determine vehicle restrictions.
This weight restriction sign vanished overnight last week. INSET: This was the old weight restriction sign. Neither the yellow sign nor the white signs were enforceable.
John McIldowie sent in this photo in 2014 of large trucks stuck in the Seven Passes pass between Saasveld and Wilderness Heights.