Bay traffic circle claims 19th ‘victim’

The circle in Circular Drive

Circular Drive folk up in arms over road hazard

A“landmine” traffic circle claimed its 19th victim in about seven months at the weekend, with residents fighting with the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality to alter the structure before it causes more damage.

The circle on Circular Drive, particularly a small raised section in the centre, has caused many headaches for residents and motorists alike since its construction in December last year, as residents say it is too small and poorly marked.

The latest “victim” of the circle is Christine McDonald, 65, of Sunridge Park, who was admitted to hospital after being involved in an accident there on Sunday evening.

Her son, Jan, said she suffered a broken ankle, with her car most likely written off.

“I only found out about the accident the next morning, because nobody had phoned me and I went to Livingstone Hospital to look for her,” he said.

“I was very surprised because she is a capable driver and it was the first time in her life she’d been in an accident.

“She said she simply didn’t see the circle. Her ankle was broken, but her injuries could have been a lot worse.”

Even Dave Gardner, of Gardmed, whose team attended the scene of McDonald’s accident, said the circle had been a problem.

“I can confirm that numerous accidents have occurred at the circle, and we are very aware it is a problem area,” Gardner said.

Police spokeswoman Captain Sandra Janse van Rensburg could not confirm how many accidents had been reported.

“Not all accidents result in criminal cases, and we cannot reveal statistics of the criminal cases.”

However, Circular Drive residents who have been keeping track say McDonald is the 19th victim.

“Residents can only remember two accidents on this section of road in the 20 years preceding the construction of the circle,” Rego Burger said.

“I call the raised part of the circle a landmine because it catches people unexpectedly. It serves no purpose and is too small . . .

“It is wrecking cars, and the people who live here don’t know when the next accident could happen.”

Louis Botes, a Circular Drive resident, said a lack of functioning streetlights exacerbated the situation, “but even with light, there are accidents.

“If we have more traffic here, it will worsen the problem.”

More traffic was expected in future, due to planned developments along Circular Drive, municipal spokesman Mthubanzi Mniki said.

“The upgrades are in line with future developments. That intersection will become very busy when the development is completed.”

He said the raised portion of the circle was to “prevent cars or taxis stopping in the middle of the circle, and to prevent cars ignoring the circle [and causing] a head-on collision with oncoming cars”.

“We are in the process [of] installing additional LED flashing indicators to improve visibility.”

Mayoral spokesman Sibongile Dimbaza said the metro was rolling out a programme to fix faulty street lights, while ward councillor Morne Steyn said he would convene a meeting between residents and municipal officials on the matter.

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