Cape Town - While the City says it has a record of three official accidents at the infamous Muizenberg “truck-eating” bridge this year, residents say they have witnessed around 30 incidents.
The bridge is known to be problematic because of its height, at 2.5m, with trucks often getting stuck underneath, resulting in traffic chaos.
The bridge has garnered the nickname “Biddy” and locals refer to vehicles getting stuck, as the bridge grabbing a “nibble”.
While the City has made interventions through signage, it has not been successful with incidents still recorded almost monthly, according to residents.
Heide Goodman of the Muizenberg Lakeside Residents Association said: “I've lived here for more than 10 years. It’s always happened, (and is) happening more frequently, getting two hits a week on average. The bridge is low but there's nothing that can be done about that, (it) cannot be redesigned because of (the) steep uphill at Main road.
“There is an alternative route, it is well -marked, its got road signage, electronic signage, quite far from (the) bridge, a lot of drivers are tired so they kind of don’t see it.”
“The community believe there could be one solution - (a) left mechanical height warning goalpost barrier system which features a pole on either side of the road and bars with chains across it to alert drivers via a sound that if their vehicle touches it, they will not fit under the bridge. If it hits that bar it won't damage the truck but will awaken the driver you are going to hit the bridge.”
They have appealed to the municipality with the idea, to no avail, she said.
Creator of the Facebook page, Muizenberg's Famous Truck-Eating Bridge, Tessa Moore referred to the bridge as “the biggest character in a pretty characterful town”.
“I started the FB page many years back, as I thought it would be a jol if we could gather together an archive of Biddy's nibbles. If you sift through the photos section of the page, you will see her formidable appetite.
“The reason for the number of hits is quite simple really, the drivers are not aware of their vehicle size, nor are they paying attention to the many many warning signs.
We are greatly saddened by the occasional deaths that have occurred, and I don't ever remember it being the vehicle's driver.
Bridget is 100-odd years old, and was built for a different era of vehicles. The road cannot be changed, nor the railway lifted, so the answer is simple, the trucks and buses must use the alternative designated routes.”
City Traffic Services spokesperson, Kevin Jacobs said statistics collated by the Crash Data Centre relies on cases reported to SAPS and so far only three cases were reported and captured for the year.
“While more crashes may have occurred over this period, these have either not been reported to SAPS or have not yet been captured.”
He added that drivers of over-height vehicles “do not take note of the clearly marked warning signs and do not make use of the alternative route”.
“Warning signs have been placed along all approaches to the bridge. These include a laser system installed along the Atlantic Road and Main Road approaches to the bridge that alerts drivers of over-height vehicles and directs them to use the alternative route along Albertyn Road.
“In addition, warning signage has been installed before Albertyn Road indicating the alternative route for vehicles higher than 2.5 metres. Atlantic Road, Albertyn Road and Main Road also have signage indicating that a low bridge is ahead, along with the height restriction and directions to the alternative route.”