The South African National Roads Agency (SOC) Limited (SANRAL) is involved in the building of a R450-million bypass to divert traffic around Butterworth’s congested CBD.
The bypass could be a done by 2021, according to Eastern Cape roads and public works MEC Thandiswa Marawu.
Her department has already set aside the R450-million needed for the much-anticipated project, and construction is expected to start in September 2019.
The road will be a welcome development for motorists, who have to sit mired in traffic for hours when passing through the town.
Marawu said plans were at an advanced stage and she had already met with Mnquma municipal bosses and officials from SANRAL regarding the construction project.
When the bypass was first proposed a few years ago, it was proposed that it would start at the Ndabakazi turnoff about 10km west of Butterworth, and link up with the N2 on the Dutywa side.
However, Marawu’s spokesman Mphumzi Zuzile said the road was set to be diverted “two or three kilometres before Butterworth when you are coming from the East London side and just after Walter Sisulu University’s Ibika campus on the other side”.
Zuzile said the environmental impact assessment (EIA) for the project had already been completed for the project.
The EIA report is awaiting approval from the provincial department of environmental affairs.
“After Sanral has obtained the necessary approval from the department, that is when we will go to tender so that we will be ready for work to begin by September 2019,” said Zuzile.
In May last year, Sanral approved construction of the bypass subject to the EIA.
At the time, the now former Mnquma mayor Baba Ganjana, said: “Approval of the N2 bypass in this area is an achievement.
“During the early and late hours of the day, transport is so congested in this area. Approval means that the traffic will be flowing at all times.”
He added at that stage that Sanral still had to report back to the municipality on the results of the EIA and the exact route of the bypass. After that the municipality would negotiate with households that would have to be relocated to make way for the road.