The ongoing road works on Route 62 just outside Barrydale has both the local and farming community up in arms as several potentially fatal incidents have taken place at the stop-and-go points in recent months.
According to Deon van Tonder, chairman of the Barrydale Agricultural Association, the farming community has raised their concerns with regards to the insufficient number of officials who are manning the respective stop-and-go-points.
He highlighted that safety personnel who need to indicated to farmers whether it is safe to use the road, are often not at their posts.
Van Tonder also indicated that it has become evident that many of workers do not possess the right skillset to be regulating traffic.
The road-resurfacing project is due to be completed at the end of December.
Van Tonder said that unless there is a drastic improvement in the way traffic is regulated, it would only be an matter of time before a serious (if not fatal) accident takes place.
“On several occasions the road has been opened to road users (myself included) while it was not safe to do so,” Van Tonder said.
“The fact that there has not been any head-on collisions is a miracle,” he said of the single lane traffic flow.
During a consultation with Amandla Construction, Van Tonder was very disappointed with the answers he received from contracts manager Pierre Le Roux.
Le Roux said that he was not aware of the various incidents that took place and urged road users to report such incidents at the second floor of their Barrydale base located next to the County Pumpkin restaurant.
During the meeting Le Roux confirmed that he had only learned of a head-on collision involving Swiss tourists, which took place on June 16, when he read the July print edition of News62.
This accident took place in the Tradouw Pass and allegedly involved one of Amadla Construction’s own vehicles.
“We simply cannot accept any excuses as the lives of our loved ones and our workers are being put in danger because the lack of control at these stop-and-go point,” Van Tonder reiterated at a meeting with Le Roux on August 14.
During this open discussion Le Roux confirmed that a new group of workers were to receive training and that they would look into ways to ensure that these vital points are sufficiently manned at all times.
“We’ve often had situations where workers simply do no show up for work and this has complicated matters,” Le Roux said.
“It is a very frustrating situation, but we are tying our best to rectify it,” he added.
Van Tonder was joined in this meeting by local businessman Schalk Windt (who also raised his concerns after nearly losing his life at a stop-and-go) and he made it clear that he would continue to monitor the situation.
Both Van Tonder and Windt issued a stern warning to Le Roux that they would not hesitate to escalate this matter to higher authorities if their concerns weren’t addressed.
Just days after the meeting at Amandla Construction’s Barrydale base, a family nearly drove into oncoming traffic at a stop-and-go after they were wrongfully told that it was safe to proceed on the road.
They just so happened to be family members of Windt.