Motorists urged to be patient as N3 highway upgraded
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Durban - MOTORISTS can expect delays on the N3 between Durban and Pietermaritzburg as the South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) resumes its upgrade project.
Sanral recently announced the resumption of upgrades to the N3 which has been welcomed by the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (Edtea).
The project, the first of the N3 series, will involve the upgrade of the portion of the N3 between the Dardanelles interchange and the Lynnfield Park interchange between Cato Ridge and Pietermaritzburg.
Bheki Mbanjwa, spokesperson for Edtea, said the department believed the upgrade would alleviate congestion on roads around the port and on the N3 corridor which is the main artery connecting the Port of Durban to the country’s economic hub, Gauteng.
“Transnet freight projections indicate that the Port of Durban is likely to exceed its maximum capacity of 5.5 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent container units) by 2035. Freight destined for movement to the hinterland of Johannesburg and beyond, should be moved in a way that would ensure less discomfort for the normal passengers that use the N3 for normal or tourism commute.”
Mbanjwa said with a road-to-rail ratio strongly skewed towards bulk and container freight movement on roads, there was an urgent need to improve the road infrastructure until there was rail efficiencies.
“The upgrade of the N3 will ensure ease of traffic movement and the continual maintenance will reduce fatalities on our roads. The long-term benefits to both the commuter and to the economy at large far outweigh any inconvenience.”
Corné Roux, project engineer, Sanral Eastern Region, said: “We are elated at the start of this package that kickstarts Sanral’s N3 Freeway Upgrade Programme and we hope there will be no further delays in awarding other project packages.”
Roux said the construction would result in an investment of R1.48 billion in this section of the highway and create an estimated 700 employment opportunities.
The upgrade is a part of the government’s strategy to use infrastructure delivery to kick-start the economy and forms part of the government’s Strategic Integrated Projects SIP2: Durban-Free State-Gauteng Logistics and Industrial Corridor.
SIP2 aims to strengthen the logistics and transport corridor between South Africa’s main industrial hubs, improve access to Durban’s export and import facilities and raise efficiency along the corridor.
“The only disturbances on this package will currently be on the section just south of the Dardanelles Interchange to south of the Lynnfield Park Interchange during construction and we appeal to all road users to be patient.
“The interchanges will not be closed at any given point as initial work will impact traffic utilising the R103 north of the Camperdown interchange to south of the Lynnfield Park interchange,” said Roux.
The Stop/Go control which came into effect on Friday was expected to continue until May 15, while the main upgrading activities on the N3 are expected to commence in May, with widening the southbound carriageway.