Johannesburg – President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday said government paid careful attention to the environmental impact in the envisaged N2 Wild Coast road mega project which will link the Eastern Cape with KwaZulu-Natal.
On Thursday, Ramaphosa was at Msikaba in Lusikisiki, in the Eastern Cape, where he visited the construction site of the multi-billion rand Msikaba Bridge.
The greenfield project consists of two mega bridges, the Mtentu Bridge and the Msikaba Bridge projects, and seven other major road works projects, including several major bridges and interchange structures.
Ramaphosa said these massive infrastructure projects are signs of a government at work, an economy on the rise, and a country on the move.
“The two projects are going to create 8 000 jobs. Another noteworthy aspect of this project is the attention to the environmental impact in this area. The N2 Wild coast region biodiversity will result in the Silaka and Mkambati Nature Reserves being expanded, leading to the creation of further jobs and leading to a new protective area,” he said.
According to Ramaphosa, approximately R4 billion will be spent on targeted enterprises during the construction period.
“This will ensure that the investment on this project will be ploughed back to communities. Already some R120 million have gone to local SMMEs as part of upgrading and linking of roads, and there are several more projects in the pipeline,” said Ramaphosa.
The N2 Wild Coast road project entails upgrading the 410km road, which stretches from East London to the Mtamvuna River, on the boundary between the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.
The project is located on the N2 connects four provinces, i.e. the Western Cape, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga, and traverses the cities and major towns of Cape Town, George, Port Elizabeth, East London, Mthatha, Durban and Ermelo. This includes a brand-new greenfield section of 112km between Port St Johns and Port Edward.
Once complete, the Mtentu Bridge will be the highest in Africa and one of the longest main-span balanced cantilever bridges in the world, with a main span of 260 metres at a maximum height of around 223 metre – the bridge is anticipated for completion at the end of 2025 or early 2026.
The route will be approximately 69km and 85km shorter than the current N2 and R61 routes respectively, and, due to its shorter and flatter alignment, between 1½ to 3 hours faster for light and heavy freight vehicles respectively. This new route will significantly reduce vehicle carbon emissions and will result in a time-cost saving to motorists and freight operators of approximately R1.5 billion per annum.