Phantom Pass ‘dangerous’ at 100km/h
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.”