More lives could be saved on KwaZulu-Natal roads with the introduction of a new preventive measure which is already being piloted in several identified high accident zones around the province.

The KZN Department of Transport has invested in the installation of Safety Roller Barriers which is a shock absorbing system that converts shock energy to rotational energy. The safety barriers are the first to be used in the country and it’s a technology from South Korea which is being implemented around the world.

When a vehicle drives off the road the barriers decrease the speed impact by redirecting the vehicle back to its lane thereby preventing driver and passenger fatalities. The barriers also help drivers to be cautions especially when driving at night as the colours of the barriers reflect in the dark alerting the driver of the approaching bend ahead.

Safety Roller Barrier performing at night

Presently, the four high accidents areas that were identified to pilot these barriers in four Departmental Regions are: Main Road R56 and R617 in Pietermaritzburg, M13 in Durban, Intersection of P47 and P393 in Empangeni as well as Main Road 544 in Ladysmith Region. The total cost for all the four regions is R23 million.

Besides reducing the impact of accidents, during the installation of the barriers about 120 job opportunities have been created in all four regions. Simphiwe Nene who is Project Manager, Control Engineering Technician T2 says he is positive that the pilot project will yield positive results, adding that the project came ahead of the Easter weekend next week – the period
which has become synonymous with road accidents and fatalities.

“Different products were identified that are used around the world but that would work for people of this country and the nature of our roads, so that is how safety roller barriers came about. If this has yielded positive results elsewhere, we are hopeful that it will also work for us as well.”

– Simphewe Nene

Article written by Nonhlanhla Ndwandwe.

Available for download here.

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