Chappies surface too ‘bumpy’ for cyclists

Rock falls on Chapmans Peak drive often damage the surface of the road.

Roadworks on Chapman’s Peak Drive from the Hout Bay end to Lookout Point are continuing, giving cyclists who use the road hope that the re-tarring of the provincial road will yet be a smooth ride for them.

Byron la Hoe, spokesman for the provincial Department of Transport and Public Works, said another five or six days of full road closures would take place over the next two weeks.

“It is not possible to say in advance when closures will take place because resurfacing works are weather-dependent – they can only take place when there is no rain or high wind. Minor stop/go traffic controls will be in place in places for certain other works to be completed,” he said.

Melanie Vogel, of Table Mountain Bikers, said cyclists wanted to know that the end product would be safe for them.

“While the road service can’t be faulted from a technical perspective, the appropriateness of the ‘chip and spray’ surface for a road in an urban environment, heavily used by cyclists, is questionable.”

A long discussion took place on the Table Mountain Bikers page, with speculation that the unfinished re-tarring would remain in the “chip and spray” surface, which cyclists say will be dangerous for them and motorcyclists.

“The sheer forces of tour buses turning on the road and general usage by motor vehicles, will always leave loose stones lying on the road surface. These can be kicked up by vehicles and injure cyclists and/or cause damage to vehicles and bicycles,” Ms Vogel said.

On the social media site the point was made that Chapman’s Peak, or Chappies as it is more commonly known, is a provincial road, but it’s in an urban area and part of the cycling “fabric” of the city.

Sections of Chapman’s Peak Drive from the Hout Bay end to Lookout Point will be closed until Friday, December 1, for the re-surfacing of the roadway.

During the second half of November, the section from Lookout Point to the Noordhoek end will be closed entirely to traffic from 9.30 to 4pm every day.

This project is being managed by Entilini Operations, the concessionaire managing the road for the Department of Transport and Public Works.

The resealing of the road from the Hout Bay end to Lookout Point will be tackled in half widths, with stop/go controls in place and road users can expect delays of between 10 to 20 minutes while this section of the road is under construction.

In a statement, Entilini said it had been 14 years since the opening of Chapman’s Peak Drive as a toll road, after the fires of 2000 and rockfalls forced the closure of the pass.

The re-seal would protect and waterproof the road to extend its life for a further six to 10 years. The reseal had been provided for at the around the half-life of the 30-year concession period.

Entilini said the reseal binder was bitumen rubber, about 25% of which is crumb rubber from discarded tyres, and had better elasticity than other binders. Its “visco-elastic properties” meant more of it could be sprayed onto a surface creating a 50% thicker layer than other binders.

The binder did a better job of protecting the road from damage caused by water ingress ultra-violet rays.

Entilini said the “industry standard road stone” for bitumen binder was a 14mm aggregate with an 8.2mm average least dimension (ALD). This was the aggregate being applied at Chapman’s Peak.

The bitumen binder also only needed the application of a single seal compared to other surfacing options so would limit traffic disruptions.

Entilini also said the skid resistance of the 14-year-old road surface was still “within specification” but had been “of concern from a safety perspective”. The texture of the reseal, it said, would improve skid resistant beyond the minimum requirement.

Regular updates are available through the Variable Message Sign (VMS) system, Twitter @ChapmansPeakSA, Facebook, or by calling 021 791 8222.