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 during the Heritage Day long weekend. The teams started working on temporary repairs as soon as the engineering team was satisfied that the landslips had stabilised sufficiently to start work.
The works have reached a point where the pass must be closed daily to initiate the soil-nailing process, of phase 1. Soil nailing is a technique used to stabilise existing slopes. 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 5 tons remains strictly prohibited.
Provincial Minister of Infrastructure, Tertuis Simmers says that he is concerned over the non-compliance of road users. "The blatant disregard of road signs and restrictions, by some road users is a serious concern. We have received numerous reports of interlinked 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," Minister Simmers continues.
The Minister adds: "I am aware of the inconvenience the closure has had on the local community and visitors and the impact the weight limitation has. However, the safety of all road users remains our primary concern."
Simmers says the department foresees that it will still be a considerable period before the pass will allow two-way traffic.
The first of various temporary closures