P­hantom Pass ‘dan­ge­rous’ at 100km/h

Knysna-Plett Herald - - Nuus | News - Ya­seen Gaf­far

Ho­me­o­w­ners al­ong the P­hantom Pass Ro­ad can fi­nal­ly bre­at­he a sigh of re­lief fol­lo­wing the ta­king do­wn of 100km/h speed signs that we­re e­rected in No­vem­ber last y­e­ar.

W­hat will hap­pen next though, is a­nyo­ne’s guess – ac­cor­ding to af­fected re­si­dents.

The e­recti­on of the speed signs drew wi­de­spre­ad con­cern from re­si­dents in the a­rea, spe­ci­fi­cal­ly 59 ho­me­o­w­ners in the We­st­ford B­rid­ge pri­va­te na­tu­re re­ser­ve – an estate that bor­ders a­bout 1km of the P­hantom Pass ro­ad (P1613) – who are re­pre­sen­ted by the We­st­ford B­rid­ge Ho­me O­w­ners As­so­ci­a­ti­on (WBHOA).

WBHOA chair Dan Ar­cher sta­tes it was with both sur­pri­se and con­ster­na­ti­on that they no­ti­ced the 60km/h signs being re­pla­ced by 100km/h signs.

“We are not a­wa­re of any pu­blic con­sul­ta­ti­on pro­cess by Eden Mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty in re­gard to t­his chan­ge, nor we­re we a­wa­re of any traf­fic stu­dy. It is not a ru­ral ro­ad, but runs al­ongs­i­de re­si­den­ces and estate dri­veways, which access points can be qui­te bu­sy. The ro­ad o­ver­looks the salt mars­hes of Knys­na Ri­ver: it is a tou­rist ro­ad wit­hout pa­vement fre­quen­ted by ma­ny bi­rdwa­t­chers, wal­kers (with and wit­hout their dogs), run­ners and cy­clis­ts,” Ar­cher says. “E­ven at 60km/h, ve­hi­cle dri­vers fre­quent­ly ha­ve to slow to do­wn to 10 to 20km/h to pass sa­fely. The ro­ad is part of and le­ads in­to the Se­ven Pas­ses Ro­ad to Ge­or­ge, a ro­ad de­sig­ned not for fast tra­vel but for tou­ris­ts to am­ble, me­an­der and ta­ke in the sce­ne­ry.”

Ar­cher adds that the ro­ad is fre­quen­ted by wild­li­fe such as bushbuck, mon­keys, tor­toi­ses, ducks and ot­her bi­rds mo­ving up from the mars­hes.

“The­re ha­ve been in­stan­ces of ro­ad kill or in­ju­ry e­ven at 60km/h, which is de­va­sta­ting to both the wild­li­fe and the sa­fe­ty of tho­se tra­vel­ling in the vehi­cles. At a 100km/h the ro­ad be­co­mes an ac­ci­dent in wai­ting.”

Ar­cher says it was no­ti­ced that du­ring the week of 5 March that the signs we­re being ta­ken do­wn – much to the re­lief of all the con­cer­ned re­si­dents.

“In sum­ma­ry and ta­king in­to con­si­de­ra­ti­on en­gi­neer­ing, so­ci­al, sa­fe­ty, en­vi­ron­men­tal and e­co­no­mic con­cerns, the in­cre­a­se of the speed li­mit to 100km/h li­mit is cle­ar­ly an ill-con­cei­ved de­ci­si­on which will not sur­vi­ve any se­ri­ous chal­len­ge, w­het­her it be by pu­blic o­pi­ni­on or le­gal,” he says.

“We ap­pre­ci­a­te the fact that the signs ha­ve been ta­ken do­wn, and e­a­ger­ly a­wait the next acti­on by the mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty. We ho­pe the speed li­mit will be put at a max­i­mum of 60km/h.”

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