The Cape Navigator

Seaside Community Newspaper

George, Western Cape

Montagu Pass and Seven Passes Road Face Extended Closures Amidst Funding and Resource Challenges

Michael Hawthorne

GEORGE – The Western Cape Department of Infrastructure (DOI) provided an update on the status of Montagu Pass and Seven Passes Road, two crucial routes that have been closed due to unprecedented flood damage during the winter of 2023.

The DOI, responsible for the restoration of damaged roads, outlined their priority criteria, focusing on traffic volume and economic significance. Unfortunately, both Montagu Pass and Seven Passes Road have been sidelined due to resource constraints and the need to prioritize routes with higher traffic and economic activity.

Montagu Pass: Heritage Hurdles and Resource Constraints

Montagu Pass, a Provincial Heritage Site, faced delays in repair work due to Heritage Western Cape (HWC) permitting requirements. Despite its economic value, the lack of available alternatives like the Outeniqua Pass has shifted the repair priority. Allegations of contractor-related issues were debunked by the DOI, clarifying that no contractor was involved in the work. With the HWC permit secured, the main hurdle now is the shortage of resources, hindering the initiation of repair work. The DOI assures the public that maintenance will resume in a phased approach based on resource availability.

The Department addressed concerns about supporting businesses along closed routes, emphasizing that the closed section of Montagu Pass has no businesses. The restoration process will be prioritized alongside other flood-damaged roads, to provide restricted access in the initial phases.

Seven Passes Road: Safety Concerns and Cyclist Reports

Seven Passes Road, significantly damaged during the 2022/2023 winter floods, faces extended closure due to resource constraints and higher repair priorities for more economically important roads. The DOI emphasized safety concerns, stating that the decision to fully close the road was made to protect both road users and the asset. Reports of cyclists attempting to use the route were discouraged, emphasizing the hidden damage below the surface level.

The DOI reaffirms its commitment to reopening both passes as soon as resources permit, urging residents to be patient and adhere to road closures for their safety. The department acknowledges the constrained fiscal environment and assures the public that every effort is being made to restore the connectivity of these important routes.

Residents, pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists are urged to cooperate with the DOI and adhere to road closures until the necessary maintenance is completed, ensuring the safety and long-term viability of Montagu Pass and Seven Passes Road.


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