Bridge cameras to nab rock throwers

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NM_bridge0 INLSA The new Blackburn pedestrian bridge on the N2 between Blackburn Village and Umhlanga, where four vehicles were struck by rocks or bricks flung from the bridge this week. Vishani Rabindranath, 42, of Chatsworth, right, underwent reconstructive surgery yesterday after being hit in the face.

Durban - Cameras could be installed on bridges to apprehend those people throwing bricks and rocks at motorists.

eThekwini municipal engineering head Adrian Peters told The Mercury on Thursday that CCTV cameras could be put in place. However, the city needed to pinpoint locations where the incidents were occurring regularly.

In recent weeks a number of objects have been hurled from bridges on to vehicles.

Vishani Rabindranath, 42, of Chatsworth was travelling with her husband from Sibaya Casino on Tuesday evening when a brick was flung from the new Blackburn pedestrian bridge, between Blackburn Village and Umhlanga Rocks.

It broke the windshield, striking Rabindranath’s face. According to her husband, Doom, she underwent reconstructive surgery yesterday at King Edward Hospital.

“I saw her in theatre yesterday. She has been speaking but very few words. The worst part is that she does not remember much about the incident,” he said.

“I am really sad for my wife and about what happened and at the same time I am upset about the person who did this.”

He said several cars were stoned on the same night. “There was a tow-truck and a Mercedes on the other side of the road. The police say they are patrolling but they are not.”

Two others were hurt when their cars were also hit.

Michelle Louw, 43, had a “huge rock” thrown on top of her car at around 8.30pm on Tuesday.

“I was on my way to the airport when I heard something like a gunshot. It was horrifying but I kept driving,” she said. “The rock struck the passenger side of the windshield; luckily nobody was on that side because glass was all over the car.”

Louw advised that should you become a victim, you should “just keep driving and not stop”.

Peters said that incidents of objects being hurled from bridges had also occurred several years ago.

“We thought about cameras back then, but then it just stopped happening; now it has resurfaced. We will speak to the police about this. The problem is that some of the bridges do not fall under the city as they are owned by the SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral),” he said.

Asked if the city needed to upgrade its bridges like those in Cape Town which are covered, minimising the risk of people throwing objects, he said: “The blocking does not guarantee the problem will stop. There have been incidents where people place large rocks on the roads. It is very difficult to say because of the cost implications.”

Brad Harold, of Cape Town’s mayoral transport, roads and storm water department said the city had had a similar problem 10 years ago but that it had stopped after bridges were covered.

Police had increased patrols in the “affected areas”, spokesman Captain Thulani Zwane said. - The Mercury

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