Collision between a taxi and a sedan at the intersection of the R357 and R31 left 17 people injured, two critically. Picture: supplied

Kimberley - Construction work at various “killer crossings” in Kimberley is scheduled to commence before October with the tender process nearing completion.

This is according to spokesperson for the South African National Road Agency Limitedf, Melany Kuhn, who said earlier this week that the multimillion-rand project, aimed at reducing the prevalence of motor vehicle accidents and the loss of life at three intersections on the outskirts of Kimberley, will start in the next few months.

“The tender process is currently being finalised and it is envisaged that construction will start within the next three months,” said Kuhn. The project entails the safety upgrades of three major intersections, to convert those into traffic circles with street lighting, and will run at a cost of approximately R115 million.”

At a stakeholders’ breakfast in Kimberley in November 2016, head of Sanral in the Western Region (Northern and Western Cape), Kobus van der Walt, announced that work on the infamous crossings was due to commence in June 2017 after nearly R1.5 billion had been allocated to the maintenance and development of the Northern Cape’s national road system.

A total of R870 million was due to be spent on conventional construction alone while nearly half a billion rand was earmarked for a design phase which included safety improvements on the three intersections linked by the R31 on the Cape Town (N12), Douglas (R357) and Griquatown (N8) roads. The regional head of Sanral said that R83 million was budgeted for these upgrades alone.

At the time, Van der Walt said that Sanral had explored various options in an attempt to reduce the number of fatalities at the notorious crossings and had determined that traffic circles and the installation of adequate street lighting all the way along the R31 was likely to render the best results, pointing out that accidents occurred most frequently at dawn and dusk when visibility was poor.

Highlighting the need

He also explained that an intersection has 24 pedestrian and 32 vehicle conflict points while a traffic circle has only eight pedestrian and eight vehicle conflict points, hence making it the safest option.

The need for additional safety measures at these intersections was again highlighted on Friday afternoon when a minibus taxi and a sedan collided on the R357 and R31 intersection, injuring 17 people and leaving two in a critical condition.

Emergency services arrived on the scene shortly after 3pm to find the taxi in the road while the light motor vehicle was found on the side of the road. The driver of the light motor vehicle and a passenger in the taxi were found trapped inside their vehicles, both in a critical condition. EMS workers required specialised equipment to liberate both patients from their respective wreckages.

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