Franschhoek Pass closed for construction

Franschhoek Pass closed for construction

Friday, November 24, 2023

The Western Cape Infrastructure Department has announced the closure of Franschhoek Pass, which connects Franschhoek and the towns of Grabouw and Villiersdorp, as construction work is underway following severe storms and flooding that hit the province in September .

Infrastructure MEC Tertuis Simmers said the closure of Franschhoek Pass will take effect from Mondays to Fridays between 8am and 5pm from 28 November until 15 December 2023 .

The pass will then be open from 15 December 2023 (with the proceed-when-safe arrangement and weight restriction) until 7 January 2024 and closed again from 8 January 2024 till the end of February 2024 .

Simmers said the pass was reopened to selected categories of light motor vehicles after it was closed following a severe weather system that hit the Western Cape, and the teams started working on temporary repairs, as soon as the engineering team was satisfied that the landslips had stabilised sufficiently to start work .

 He said the works have reached a point where the pass must be closed daily to initiate the soil-nailing (a technique used to stabilise existing slopes) process of phase 1 .

“This soil reinforcement process uses metal tendons which are drilled and grouted into the soil to create something that represents a gravity wall .

For this to be done, the pass needs to be closed due to the size of the equipment that is used and the size of the working area required .

 “Light motor vehicles will be able to traverse the pass outside of the closure times .

The use of the pass, even during times when the pass is open, by vehicles with a mass of more than five tons remains strictly prohibited,” Simmers said .

 The MEC has expressed his concerns over the non-compliance of road users and advised them to continue using the alternative routes .

 “The blatant disregard of road signs and restrictions, by some road users is a serious concern .

We have received numerous reports of interlink heavy motor vehicles accessing the pass despite clear signage prohibiting such acts .

“This reckless behaviour compromises the repair works and negatively impacts the entire repair process .

What is a further concern is that should these trucks disregard the signage and get to the closure points during the closure periods, they will be stuck there until the road reopens because there isn’t any space to turn around,” Simmers said .

 While acknowledging the inconvenience the closure has had on the local community and visitors, and the impact the weight limitation has, Simmers said, the safety of all road users remains a primary concern .

 “Work on permanent repairs continues .

The department foresees that it will still be a considerable period before the pass will allow two-way traffic,” Simmers said .

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