Motoring / 7 October 2019, 09:00am / Marvin Charles
Cape Town - It’s been nearly 10 years since a horrific crash in which 10 children died at the Buttskop level-crossing when their minibus taxi was hit by a train.
Now years later, the City of Cape Town is busy with plans to construct an overhead bridge.
Mayco member for transport Felicity Purchase said: “Level crossings are locations where vehicle traffic intersects with railway tracks.
“Ten of these crossings have booms that regulate the flow of vehicles over the railway tracks.
“The booms are managed and operated by Prasa. The Buttskop Road level-crossing is one of those that are boom-controlled in Cape Town,” she said.
“This site has seen two deadly train/vehicle crashes in the past in which 17 people tragically lost their lives. The City, in co-operation with Prasa and the Rail Safety Regulator, has done extensive work to find ways in which this crossing can be made safer in the short term,” Purchase said.
“Short-term improvements are nearing completion, while the preliminary design of the proposal to eliminate the level crossing altogether will be completed towards the end of 2019, if all goes as planned.”
The cost of the short-term safety improvements is R3.4million, while the estimated cost of the proposed elimination of the level crossing is about R80m, according to Purchase.
The City is inviting the public to view their proposed development plan, and comment on it by Wednesday.
“At the time of the accident the City engaged with the families and is working together with Prasa and the Rail Safety Regulator on improving the safety at this crossing,” Purchase said.
The 10 children died when a train smashed into the minibus taxi they were travelling in. The driver Jacob Humphreys ignored safety signals and jumped a queue of cars.
In 2011, Humphreys was convicted on 10 counts of murder and four of attempted murder, and sentenced to 20 years in prison.
He approached the Supreme Court of Appeal, where the charges were changed to culpable homicide, and his sentence reduced to eight years.
Last year, seven people died when the bakkie they were travelling in was struck by a train. The preliminary investigations showed that the bakkie was following a taxi on Frederick Road, parallel to the railway track, approaching the Buttskop level-crossing.
Abigail Marthinessen lost her 16-year-old daughter, Nadine in the crash.
“I am happy that they are doing something. It should have been done a long time ago, but it’s good that something is being done at last,” Marthinessen said.