‘No tolls’ for new road plan
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Cape Town - A major road extension on Cape Town’s road network includes a proposal for a toll, on what is expected to be busy route connecting the eastern and western parts of the city. But the City of Cape Town says it is sticking to its strong opposition against tolling. Last year, the city went to court to halt a R10-billion tolling project along the N2 and N1.
The city is now investigating a new model for how to fund major road plans. It hopes that by the time the road extension needs to be built, this new policy would have been finalised.
This proposal is found in one of the city’s 10-year spatial plans. Major roadworks are set for the Blaauwberg district. In the plan, the SA National Roads Agency (Sanral) suggests tolling the route to pay for extension.
Brett Herron, the city’s mayoral committee member for transport, roads and stormwater, detailed the proposed “east-west toll freeway”.
“The alignment of the east-west component of the R300 goes from the R27 in the west and links to the R300 northern alignment in the east. This route starts just north of Big Bay and south of the Blaauwberg Conservation Area.”
Herron said the route was part of the road plan, but not as a toll road. Instead, the proposed R300 toll project comes from Sanral. He stressed that the proposal was only at “concept stage”.
There was countrywide opposition to tolling earlier this year. In March, a Cosatu-led march drew thousands of people against e-tolls in Gauteng.
In Cape Town, the city took its battle to the Western Cape High Court. Sanral was set to start construction on Cape Town’s tolls in the second part of this year. But the city applied for an interdict to stop the project.
At the time, Herron said the tolls would force more cars on to municipal roads. Because of higher maintenance costs for those roads, city ratepayers would have seen an increase in their bills.
Speaking on the proposal for the road extension, Herron said while the city agreed with the route, it was still standing against tolling. “The alignment of the east-west R300 is supported, but not the method of funding the implementation.”
It leaves the plan in the balance.
“The current city policy does not support tolling so without a policy change, the city would not be able to support the move at a later stage.” Herron said the bigger issue was the need to work on a better way to pay for the city’s biggest road projects.
“There is insufficient funding. The key would be to resolve a model for road funding before then.”