Your travel time between Durban and Joburg is about to get shorter as N3 gets R3bn upgrade
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DURBAN: Motorists travelling between Durban to Johannesburg will get to their destination quicker once the multibillion rand upgrade of the N3 is complete.
On Thursday, Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) Minister Patricia de Lille is due to conduct an oversight visit to the N3 interchange road upgrade infrastructure project in KwaZulu-Natal.
The project, which is being implemented by the South African National Roads Agency and the Department of Transport, will see the expansion and upgrades to the N3 between Cato Ridge and Dardanelles and the N3 between Dardanelles and Lynnfield.
Once completed, the upgrades were expected to cut the travelling time by a half an hour on a normal day, Zara Nicholson, the director of communications in the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure said.
“When the entire 80km of the N3 between Durban and PMB is upgraded, the saving in travel time could be up to 0.5 hours on a normal day. However, it will really have a much greater impact when there are accidents and lane closures,” she said.
The department said the value of the upgrades to the two sections amounted to more than R3.2 billion.
Since the start of the construction phase earlier this year, around 485 jobs have been created with hundreds more to be created over the entire construction phase.
The project has also brought significant benefit to SMMEs, helping to assist in creating economic opportunities for companies and creating much-needed jobs.
“The N3 is integral to the economic growth of South Africa. A growing South African population has placed this strategic corridor under severe pressure, requiring substantial upgrading to portions of the corridor,” Nicholson said.
This corridor, also referred to as the Durban-Free State-Gauteng Corridor, is a key infrastructure development project.
The project entails upgrading the four-lane dual carriageway to eight lanes, by widening the median and outer shoulders over a distance of 6.4km.
A road-over-rail bridge will also be extended to accommodate the widening of the N3. The upgrade will increase safety and also significantly improve the level of service for years to come.
The direct economic benefits of the upgrades are a reduction in travel times, a reduction in vehicle-operating costs and a reduction in accidents costs, all of which have great benefit to the economy at large.
There are also indirect economic benefits that will accrue to the local areas.
The department said the upgrade to the N3 should alleviate congestion on the roads around the port and on the crucial N3 corridor linking the port of Durban to Gauteng.
It would also shorten turnaround times for freight-carrying vehicles. The project had brought to life the objectives of the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa in October 2020, which aimed to assist industries to recover from the tough economic climate and see all sectors working together to help build South Africa back better.