Why refuse a good idea?

Another truck hit the Muizenberg railway bridge on Thursday April 8.

Keith Blake, Ottery

On Thursday April 8, yet another truck drove into the Muizenberg railway bridge.

Trucks continue to get stuck under that bridge and the City experts came up with signage, but somehow refuse to implement road rattling chains on both sides of the bridge as I have suggested in several emails to the City. Many believe the chains to be the practical answer.

You may have all theoretical certificates, but come down from the high and mighty bridge and land on the road. The rattling chains, like the American rattlesnake rattle, will warn a driver if he or she rides into them that t hey are going to hit the bridge.

I refuse to wash my hands on this matter and I’m asking for a full investigation, starting with the statistics from Muizenberg SAPS on the trucks that got stuck or rode into that bridge. A technical team should also check the structure of that bridge’s concrete and the metal structure and the railway lines.

• Mayoral committee member for transport Felicity Purchase responds: The City of Cape Town has communicated with Mr Blake on numerous occasions but has not received a response from him as yet. The City has never refused to take action. However, we can only implement what is feasible and possible.

There is no scope to implement a gantry within 180 metres of the bridge, as suggested. An investigation was undertaken for a gantry with gongs or chains. A reinforced concrete base for such a cantilever gantry is large and with numerous subsurface services – unfortunately, there are no suitable locations within 180m of the bridge, where one may be positioned.

We are exploring the possibility of alternative locations for a gantry (or another suitable warning mechanism) further away from the bridge. Space remains a constraint, and the position of such a gantry needs careful consideration as there are numerous sea-facing apartments along Beach and Atlantic Roads, where scenic visibility will be impaired. Feasibility, cost benefit and the public’s comment will be a determining factor.

We surmise one of the primary problems may be vehicle navigation systems that only direct vehicles to the Main Road via Atlantic Road so the drivers ignore the plethora of signs and the height detection sign, which activates if a truck exceeds the limit. We are reviewing additional signage options to improve the existing measures. The most important and critical factor remains for drivers of heavy duty vehicles to be aware of their vehicle height and to pay attention to the signage.