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R55 Upgrade


Kopano Environmental facilitated the first PPP (public participation process) in May 2013 with regards the most welcomed R55 upgrade. The community has welcomed the advent this much needed upgrade to a highly congested and dangerous single lane arterial. The original plans presented showed Protea Rd to remain open. Rumours then arose in July ’13 that the plans had been changed and that the main road from the R55 into Sun Valley from the east (Protea) was to be closed. (See Appendix B) I then requested a site meeting with Kgomotso Molefi from Kopano in order to ascertain the validity of this ruse and also show her why this road could not feasibly be closed. She assured us at a meeting on the 3rd August 2013 that the rumour was false but that she would further follow up with the engineers the following week to confirm. She came back a few weeks later (20th) to say that there were changes and that a further PP meeting was then scheduled for the 5th September 2013 where the revised plans were presented which then showed that Protea Rd was to be closed.
The only reason cited for the closure was that the planned PWV5 would interfere with this intersection and as such, keeping Protea open could not be justified.
Why Protea Road cannot be closed?
1.    PWV5 reasoning is logically fallible (see Appendix A)
Appendix A roughly shows where the PWV5 is planned. This drawing shows that the PWV5 bisects the R55 between Protea and Karee. However, due to lack of detailed drawings, it does not show the access & egress positioning from the PWV5 to the R55 which will no doubt further compromise both Karee and Protea roads sometime in the future and as such, the choice to utilise Karee only is flawed. (That the PWV5 is unlikely to pass the EIA scoping phase in its current alignment as it passes along a very large number of very important wetlands in the region should also be taken into account) To this, the alternate servitude road that is to be built as shown by the light green line transgresses the exact same planned PWV5 reason provided for Protea Rd to be closed (?). It also passes through/over a wetland (pink area) that has not been adequately accounted for and considered in the current studies and there are registered endangered grass own in the area.   
2.    600m mobility rule between traffic lights
If by any chance the ruling made includes that the distance between Mopani (not on these maps) and Protea is too close to qualify re the 600m mobility rule (see TRH26 RCAM Aug12 - South African Road Classification and Access Management Manual), then this has to be re-measured as it is further than the distance between Karee and the R562 (Summit Rd) intersection to the north.
As a suggestion, it would solve a number of other problems if Mopani were closed and Century’s access be granted across from Mimosa Rd, allowing this road to remain open. This will not only be a cheaper option re new servitude roads being built but also resolve access to Mimosa road for many who already live up that road in high density developments and have been making use of this road for many years already rather than take the detour as planned. Their rights of road access are being compromised by a development that has not yet begun construction. This will also increase the distance to Protea road for improved mobility as per the Road Classification and Access Manual – above       
3.    Traffic Impact
3.1.Traffic along Protea already outweighs the flow along Karee road by a factor of approximately 40:1 (See appendix B) and as such there is little logic to reroute the traffic from the eastern side of Sun Valley to this proposed servitude towards Karee. All the properties along Coach Rd, Trotting Rd, Huntsman Rd (to the east of the R55) as shown in the green shaded area have their main access along Huntsman & Protea Rd to the R55. The road line marked J is a cul-de-sac as a private fenced property and as such Karee is not a direct alternative route to the west of Sun Valley
3.2.Properties C, D, E and G are registered National & Provincial show jumping and dressage venues with regular shows and as such there is often a lot of traffic together with horse boxes and very large horse floats or trucks that are required to pass along these roads. Unless there is a major upgrade of both Karee and Village or the proposed servitude is built to correct spec, this alternate route is not viable for these vehicles. To this, there are over 450 horses in Sun Valley of which at least 60% are owned by people in the City who come out here to ride and compete. They too use Protea Rd as one of the main entrances to this area.  
3.3.Karee road often floods in the rainy season and becomes impassable. There is also often very thick river sand washed down from Village, Willow and Karee itself that gathers in the section between Willow and Village that does not allow for normal cars to pass along that section – this alternate route will require more of an upgrade than the engineers have catered for
As the traffic increases along the R55 (north south alignment) and R562 (east west alignment) the need for controlled access and egress points becomes more of a prerequisite from a safety point of view. Already, the dangers here have acknowledged in the JMPD’s accident and fatality records along these roads. Therefore, it is essential that these entrance points are strategically placed where maximum benefit can be obtained with the least amount of disruption to existing and anticipated traffic patterns and also, the least cost to the Province. We applaud the intention to upgrade the R55, but herby petition that you please reverse the decision to close Protea Road and rather make this the main access point for the residents of Sun Valley and their visitors as shown above  

DOWNLOAD Letter to MEC Vali Here

Please refer to Appendix A in order to address out main argument (and to your own maps/plans as distributed via the public participation process for more detail)

Refer also to Appendix B with regards current traffic behaviour as presented to Kopano Environmental in August

Please sign the petition by clicking HERE

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