The railway bridge over Atlantic Road in Muizenberg is notorious for crashes because road users underestimate the height of their vehicles when driving under the bridge. Picture: supplied
Cape Town - New technology employed by the City hopes to reduce the number of vehicles that crash into overhead bridges.

The City’s transport and urban development authority is using a 3D laser detection system, thereby keeping a closer eye on drivers of over-height vehicles who disregard the warnings issued. Mayoral committee member for area south Eddie Andrews visited the intelligent transport system installation which has been in effect on Baden Powell Drive since June, and has been in operation along Main Road and Atlantic Road since 2016.

“The railway bridge crossing in Atlantic Road, Muizenberg, is known for vehicular crashes mainly because road users often underestimate the height of their vehicles when driving under the bridge," he said.

“Since the installation of this ITS in 2016, we have seen a significant reduction in the number of over-height vehicles getting stuck or crashing into the bridge. However, despite the numerous warning signboards, we still average two cases per month, but these are two too many, considering the inconvenience and the risk to public safety.”

Warning system

The first phase of this system, completed in 2017, covered the northbound approach on Main Road, which saw a reduction in the number of crashes, and this led to the roll-out of phase two along Baden Powell Drive.

The 3D laser-detection system measures the height of every vehicle approaching the bridge. Should it detect that the highest point of a vehicle in either of the two lanes is more than 2.5 metres from the road surface, a warning system is activated that triggers two bright orange flashing beacons on a warning signboard.

The beacons remain flashing for about 30 seconds to indicate to the driver that an alternate route should be used and that the vehicle is too high to pass under the railway bridge.

Cape Argus