Plans in place to curb Fields Hill carnage

DURBAN - Long-awaited plans to make the M13 along Fields Hill in Durban safer have been announced.

24 people died when a truck ploughed into four minibus taxis and a car three months ago.

Residents living along the treacherous stretch of road have for years been calling for something to be done about the high fatality rate along the road.

The deadly September crash sparked a massive outcry and calls for a ban of heavy vehicles along Field&39;s Hill.

But while acknowledging the need for action, KwaZulu-Natal Transport MEC Willies Mchunu, says the social and economic implications are too far-reaching for a total truck ban.

Short-term plans he announced include: the existing carrying capacity of trucks passing through will be reduced from 25 tons to 16 ton; 16 ton trucks will be restricted from passing through Fields Hill from 6am to 9am on the eastbound carriageway; trucks will be restricted from using the route in both directions from 4pm to 6:30pm; the compulsory stop at the top of Fields Hill will be electronically monitored; and law enforcement is set to increase.

Some of the long- term plans include constructing an extra lane in the easterly direction, concrete barriers along the entire route as well as improving ramps and intersections.

However, community member and lobbyist Corne Broodryk is sceptical about these plans.

"I think at the end of the day the answer is that trucks need to be banned. There is no reason for them to be using Fields Hill. There are other alternatives,” said Broodryk.

The Fields Hill issue will clearly be debated for some time to come.