Durban – The eThekwini municipality has budgeted R22.5 million for improved road signs to ensure better traffic management ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa.

The 2010 host city has already placed new road signage and traffic logging equipment along the Inkosi Albert Luthuli and Ruth First freeways, between Umhlanga in the north and the Durban International Airport, in the south, as the first phase of the project by the eThekwini Transport Authority (ETA).

The signage consists of steel billboard type structures which will accommodate large electronic message signs, that will display warning messages to motorists.

Carlos Esteves, Roads Systems Manager at ETA, said the traffic logging equipment and variable message signs would be linked to the city’s traffic control room.

“This is where traffic operating speeds and patterns will be monitored using traffic simulation software that predicts congestion to allow suitable messages to be displayed on the signs.”

Warnings of congestion, accidents and other incidents further ahead on the freeway will be displayed.

This, he added would assist motorists to decide on taking alternative routes when necessary.

Traffic logging equipment will precede each sign and next to it will be a CCTV camera for monitoring the whole section of the freeway.

Mr Esteves explained that ETA had begun erecting gantry structures for message signs, saying that these were now visible at the airport and on Edwin Swales Drive.

“The monitoring and world class logging equipment will not be immediately obvious because it is typically concealed under the road surface,” he said.

Message signs would be covered by CCTV cameras and incorporate tamper alarms to protect them from vandalism.

Also, Mr Esteves said, the new infrastructure would improve response to accidents and the work of enforcement units.

The system is to be tested by October and will be functional by December.

In the second phase of the project, the infrastructure would be rolled out to other major routes in the city, including the North Coast Road corridor and the Western Freeway.

eThekwini will in November be hosting the first FIFA event towards the 2010 World Cup, namely the preliminary draw in November.

It is also one of the nine host cities of the 2010 World Cup and will use its Moses Mabhida stadium as a venue for matches.

AUTHOR: Themba Gadebe
DATED: 6th August 2007