Heaps of sand get in our way

Michiel Strydom, Fish Hoek

It is clear that neither the City council nor Metrorail will clear away the sand on their respective beach and rail areas any time soon (“Solution to clear sand from tracks in the pipeline,” Echo February 8).

This is alarming, but what is more alarming is that both parties totally ignore the fact that their neglect and delays have caused a greater problem: the sand has, since October 2017, been blown over onto Main Road causing several serious traffic hazards that need urgent attention.

A large section of the seaside pavement is covered in sand. Pedestrians and runners (Navy trainers) have to walk and run in the road. Over all these months the council
has not once cleared
the sand of the pavement.

Sand has also collected against the curbside, blocking a number of stormwater drains. A week ago, when we had some rain, a sizeable puddle formed in one spot. With more rain in coming months more puddles will form which could lead to car accidents. To date, only one of the blocked drains has been cleared.

Over this period, parts of the road have been invaded by sand – on both sides in one spot. Since October 2017, I have only seen efforts to clear the road on four occasions. The rest of the time motorists have had to put up with dangerous loose sand on the road.

The many cyclists using the road daily have to ride in the middle of the road. We also have a major cycle race coming up soon.

Should there be a serious accident council could face a law suit.

I am not a lawyer, but I do know that the council is responsible for clearing away obstructions on a public road and pavements under their jurisdiction within a reasonable period.

Should a tree blow down onto a road or pavement anywhere in Cape Town it would be removed within days. Why do we, as road commuters, have to put up with heaps of sand for weeks and months on one of the busiest roads in the Cape Peninsula.

I also do not think the warning signs on the road are adequate. A similar situation is developing at Glencairn close to the traffic lights opposite the beach.

The pavement is blocked by sand. There is very little vegetation left on the dunes, near the beach. As a result there is a lot of dry loose sand which is being blown onto the railway line and the roadside.

* Suzette Little, Mayoral committee member for area north, Suzette Little, responds:

The Transport and Urban Development Authority’s environmental management department is busy with a dune-rehabilitation project at Hout Bay Beach. This is expected to significantly reduce the sand build-up on Princess Street and Harbour Road once the project is completed.

Much of the sand blowing onto the Main Road from Glencairn to Simon’s Town originates from the build-up within the rail reserve which has been allowed to accumulate since Metrorail suspended their services.

TDA officials met with Metrorail representatives recently and Metrorail, at this meeting, indicated that the appointment of a contractor to undertake the sand clearing was at an advanced stage.

Furthermore, the clearing of roads and pavements from windblown sand is done daily, in particular during the windy season.

All of those living in Cape Town will be well aware that this is a huge challenge: during periods of high winds, areas that are cleared in the morning will be covered again in the late afternoon or the next day.

This may create the impression that we are not doing regular road maintenance, when, in fact, we do this on an ongoing basis, and deal with the forces of nature as best we can.The local road maintenance depot in the far south monitors the roads and pavements in the area, but we also rely on the public to inform us of locations where
the roads and pavements are covered in sand.