Cape Town - Residents in Table View fear their haste to escape a nuclear emergency at Koeberg power station - should one occur - will be severely curtailed due to the heavy congestion on the existing roads leading out of the area.
They say it takes them up to three hours to reach the city centre during peak, due to increased developments that the existing roads can’t handle.
Approximately 40 500 people use the R27 from Table View to the city each day and residents said this needed to be accommodated as they feared what would happen should an accident occur at Koeberg.
“With the expansion of the building of residential areas in Table View, our traffic scenario will be even worse," said resident Lorna Newman. "The council is allowing too much development without increasing access into or out of the area.
“I dread to think what will happen if there ever is an emergency situation at the Koeberg power station as there will be no way for all the people to get out of this area and many will be affected with health issues and loss of life.”
Four kilometres in an hour
Another resident, Cindy Welch, said it recently took her an hour to reach Table View High School, which is four kilometres away from her home, due to traffic congestion. She said Wood Drive and Circle Road were facing increased pressure that would only worsen with an upcoming development close to Gee Road.
Mayoral committee member for transport and urban development Brett Herron acknowledged the congestion needed to be addressed and said the City had allocated funds from the congestion management programme to accelerate the dualling of Sandown Road and the M12 in support of the Koeberg Emergency Evacuation Plan.
Ward 107 councillor Nicky Rheeder confirmed the dualling of Sandown Road would commence in 2018, which would help alleviate traffic congestion.
Herron said: “It’s well documented that certain parts of Cape Town’s road network are at or near capacity during the peak-hour periods due to new developments.
“The recent extension of Malibongwe Drive has helped to alleviate traffic congestion in the rapidly growing areas north of Blaauwberg Road.
“To alleviate the current congestion experienced as a result of the close proximity of the N7 interchange and Potsdam Road," he added, "various new access proposals are being investigated for the ultimate scheme to protect mobility of the road network.”
Herron said the inclusion of a MyCiTi route along Malibongwe Drive and Sandown Road was planned as well as upgrading the Potsdam interchange, which should begin in the 2018/19 financial year. New access proposals in the area are also being investigated to support future development access.
Upgrading and raising the N7 freeway to accommodate new road and pedestrian underpasses between Dunoon and Annandale Farm was on the cards, as well as upgrading the N7 to freeway standard between the M12 interchange and the Melkbosstrand intersection.
“Most of the projects are still in the planning phase," Herron said. "We anticipate that the projects under our management will be completed within the next three to five years. The provincial upgrades to the N1 and N7 freeways are also being phased in over the next 10 years.
“We need a multi-pronged approach in addressing traffic congestion," he warned. "No roads-based intervention will succeed unless we address the ailing commuter rail service, and if commuters do not change their commuter patterns.”