Internal Affairs

Upgrades proposed to improve traffic flow along the M3 in Newlands

The City of Cape Town is proposing several changes to existing intersections along the M3, the most important arterial road link between suburbs in the Southern Peninsula and the city. The intention is to alleviate the bottlenecks along the M3 between Upper Hillwood Road and Newlands Avenue by removing two signalised intersections, implementing three median closures and a road closure, among others, to assist the free flow of traffic along this section. We are calling on residents, road users, and all interested and affected parties to please peruse these proposals and to submit comments by 18 November 2022.
‘Thousands of commuters use the M3 every day to travel between the southern suburbs and the city. The M3 is a strategic north-south freeway and must facilitate mobility and access to and from the city. Those familiar with this route have first-hand experience of the congestion during the peak hour periods along the section between Wynberg Hill and Newlands Avenue in particular.

‘We commissioned an in-depth study of this section of the M3 and according to the traffic assessments the traveling time during the peak hour periods is up to four times longer than during free-flow conditions. In fact, the M3 is so busy lately that traffic is seldom free flowing between six in the morning and seven in the evening, regardless of the day of the week.

‘The study makes recommendations on what changes can be implemented to improve traffic flow, adding that these will have an immediate positive impact for the far majority of people who are travelling along the M3. I urge residents to please comment on these proposals by 18 November 2022,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Urban Mobility, Councillor Rob Quintas.

The City commissioned a transport assessment study to guide the Urban Mobility Directorate in determining infrastructure improvements to assist with traffic flow between Upper Hillwood Road and Newlands Avenue, among others.

The study was finalised in June 2021, and comprises of the following:

An assessment of the traffic safety issues and how the signalised intersections at Fernwood Avenue and Upper Hillwood Road are impeding traffic flow along the M3
An assessment of the capacity of the following intersections along the M3: Rhodes Avenue, Fernwood Avenue, Paradise Road, Struben Road, Sidmouth Avenue, Torquay Avenue, and Upper Hillwood Road
The impact of the proposed median closures at Fernwood Avenue, Torquay Avenue and Upper Hillwood Road
Proposed rerouting options for those who would be impacted by the above median closures, revised intersection layouts, and pedestrian crossings
A comparison between head/rear end crashes for the M3 with other major arterials such as Jakes Gerwel Drive, confirmed that the M3 has the highest proportion of head/rear end crashes (65%) between the intersections with Newlands Avenue and Upper Hillwood Road; and that these types of accidents would be significantly reduced by the proposed removal of the Upper Hillwood Road and Fernwood Road intersections
A cost/benefit analysis confirms the benefits in savings (time, fuel, safety) are three times the value of the estimated cost to implement the proposals

The following proposals are now available for public comment:
To close the median at the intersection of Fernwood Avenue, and to remove the traffic signal so that traffic can move freely through this section of the M3. This will mitigate the back-up of traffic at the Paradise Road intersection and meet the required minimum spacing for signalised intersections along a higher order road carrying high volumes of vehicular traffic
To allow only a left in to Fernwood Avenue from the M3 for traffic travelling in a northbound direction, meaning traffic can only exit the M3 to Fernwood Avenue, but not enter the M3 from Fernwood Avenue
Remove the pedestrian crossing at Fernwood Avenue as pedestrians can cross the M3 at the Paradise Road intersection and at Newlands Avenue
To implement a free flow left-turn slip lane at the M3/Rhodes Avenue intersection for traffic travelling eastbound along Rhodes Avenue. This will improve the capacity at this intersection, in particular during the morning peak hour period for those travelling towards the city
To signalise the intersection of Rhodes Avenue and Almond Street to safely accommodate traffic that is rerouted from Fernwood Avenue
The closure of the median at Upper Torquay Avenue so that traffic travelling in a southbound direction along the M3 can no longer turn right into Upper Torquay. This is to prevent the backing up of traffic along this section caused by right turning vehicles, and also to improve road safety by removing an un signalised intersection where right turning drivers have to take gaps in the heavy M3 traffic flow
Traffic travelling in a northbound direction will be able to exit the M3 by turning left into Upper Torquay Avenue; similarly, those driving along Upper Torquay Avenue will be able to enter the M3 by turning left to travel northbound towards the city
To close Upper Hillwood Road at the top of Wynberg Hill, implement a median closure, and remove the traffic signal at this intersection so that traffic can move freely along this section and over the hill. The analysis confirmed the M3 operates very poorly along this section because the traffic signal activates regularly during the critical weekday peak hour periods to serve a few vehicles along Upper Hillwood Road while delaying thousands of vehicles on the M3
Upper Hillwood Road will become a cul-de-sac that does not intersect with the M3, while retaining existing access to and from the corner property
The pedestrian crossing will be removed as pedestrians can still cross at the overhead bridge at Upper Primrose Road

‘The study found that these proposals will have huge benefits for road users. It will alleviate congestion, and thus reduce travelling time along the M3. There will be fuel savings as stop-and-start movements will be reduced, and this will also improve road safety as it will be easier to keep safe following distances. All concerned and interested have until 18 November 2022 to submit their views, and I want to urge road users in particular to submit comments,’ said Councillor Quintas.

Source: City Of Cape Town