Cape Town - Chapman’s Peak-like netting is being erected on one of the Western Cape’s most-travelled passes - Sir Lowry’s Pass - to prevent rockfalls as is being done on the famous coastal route.
The South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) reports that following a major rockfall in July last year, the project was fast-tracked due to its status as an “emergency”.
Construction started in November, with the main focus on the most severe areas to ensure that the road could safely be opened for the December holidays.
This took place and work was restarted in mid-January, with the rock-side upward lane being closed to traffic with large concrete barricades between the two up-bound lanes. At present, work is due to continue until mid-June.
At first most of the work was near-invisible to passersby. A large crane could be seen at the rock face - a drilling machine which prepared holes for rock bolts. Once the rock face was prepared, mesh was wrapped over massive sections of cliff face.
And, finally, large rocks were manually being attached to the rocky slopes to prevent further movement.
The contractor has also begun installing “catch fences” on the upper slopes of the mountain - similar to those seen high above Chapman’s Peak Drive.
Inclement weather - especially wind - is still one of the biggest concerns that could result in construction delays.
“Occupational, health and safety regulations restrict working at height under certain conditions; strong wind is one of those restrictions,” explained Tiago Massingue, Sanral’s project manager in Western Cape.
Construction work continues as weather conditions permit.
Road users are advised to allocate extra time to their travels and also “to proceed with utmost caution through the mountain pass”, Massingue warned.
Alternative routes such as the N1 via the Huguenot Tunnel “should be considered”. - Cape Argus