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Construction of Kokstad Interchange to begin in September

Construction of the Kokstad Interchange and Traffic Control Centre on Section 21 of the N2 in KwaZulu-Natal will begin in September, the South African National Road Agency (SANRAL) has announced.

The contract to do the work – valued at more than R560 million – was this week awarded to H&I Construction, said Mohamed Parak, SANRAL’s Eastern Region Project Manager.

The N2 Kokstad Interchange is located approximately 3km to the south of the Kokstad Town Central Business District (CBD) in KwaZulu-Natal.

“Under this 33-month contract, a new three-span bridge over the N2 and its approach fill embankments will be constructed. Further construction work on the interchange include widening of the existing Koppieskraal River Bridge, six new box culverts and extension of one existing culvert and a new underpass,” said Parak.

“The engineering designs were completed by JG Afrika and the construction supervision will be undertaken by Naidu Consulting.”

The project includes the construction of a new Traffic Control Centre (TCC) to house Kokstad-based members of the Provincial Road Traffic Inspectorate who will monitor and enforce overload control. It also involves the realignment of the R56 towards Kokstad and the construction of a parallel service road to the R56. Works related to the TCC and the R56, beyond the SANRAL road reserve, is co-funded by the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Transport.

“This project, which comes at a cost of approximately R563.50m, was necessitated by the poor levels of service at the existing N2/R56 at-grade intersection. The upgrade will grade separate the N2 and the R56 and increase capacity while significantly improving the level of service for the next 30 years,” said Parak.

In line with SANRAL’s transformation objectives, at least R169m will be subcontracted to SMMEs while more than R45m will be spent on local labour.

The proposed construction sequence has ensured that traffic will always remain free flowing in both directions. No closures are envisaged, however the work will be accommodated with some restrictions and with traffic control measures in place.

The construction activities on the N2 are expected to commence in September 2021, starting with the temporary link and T-junction on the N2. During major construction activities two-lane traffic flow in each direction will be maintained on the N2, with minimal disruption to the traffic once traffic control measures are in place.

“We appeal to road users to note and comply with the advance warning signs and speed restrictions when travelling past the construction work zones. To prioritise the safety of both the construction works and road users, the speed limit along the route will be reduced during construction. Motorists are encouraged to plan their trips accordingly, and to make provision for the additional travel time,” said Parak.

Heavy rainfall causes water gushing down Ntentule Falls near the N2WCR project

Heavy rainfall, on Tuesday, 01 June and Wednesday, 2 June 2021, brought this magnificent view of water gushing down the Ntentule Falls on the Mateku River 20 km east of Lusikisiki in the Eastern Cape. The waterfall, measured at 175-metre high, is located near SANRAL’s Msikaba bridge project.  In 2019, professional surveyors and engineers discovered that the Ntentule Falls was the second-highest waterfall in South Africa.

The Msikaba bridge is part of SANRAL’s N2 Wild Coast Road (N2WCR) project. The key purpose of the N2WCR project is to serve as a catalyst for economic growth in the country. Once complete, 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 1 ½ hour to 3 hours faster, for light and heavy freight vehicles, respectively.  This new route will significantly reduce vehicle carbon emissions and result in a time-cost saving to motorists and freight operators of approximately R1.5 billion per annum.

The socio-economic impact of the N2WCR project is offering significant injection for the local communities. The minimum 30% expenditure earmarked for Targeted Enterprise sub-contractors and suppliers will result in over R4 billion flowing to SMMEs most of which will be from the OR Tambo and Alfred Nzo Districts.

SANRAL’s N2 Wild Coast Road Project offers significant economic opportunities for SMMEs

The completion of the multi-billion-rand N2 Wild Coast Road Project will significantly contribute to economic growth along the coast of South Africa and into neighbouring countries, says Skhumbuzo Macozoma, Chief Executive Officer of the South African National Roads Agency SOC Limited (SANRAL). Addressing the ‘Taking SANRAL to the Wild Coast’ stakeholder engagement meeting held in Lusikisiki yesterday (Wednesday), Macozoma said the new N2 Wild Coast Road would open a new trade corridor between Limpopo, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape and Western Cape, as well as between South Africa and neighbouring countries such as Mozambique, Swaziland and Lesotho.

“SANRAL is working hard to complete the N2 Wild Coast Road, which will in turn open one of the last economic corridors of our country and will create many new opportunities for economic growth in the post-COVID-19 period,” said Macozoma. “The new N2 Wild Coast Road will promote trade and tourism through an economic corridor along the South-Eastern coast of South Africa, as well as between South Africa and several of our neighbouring states. The N2 Wild Coast Road will not only bring with it thousands of new jobs and opportunities for the development of Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises but will also make the movement of people and goods much easier, especially through the Eastern Cape. That is why we have not given up on this project in spite of the difficulties over more than two decades and we will complete construction of the N2 Wild Coast Road over the next few years.”

The N2 Wild Coast Road Project represents a significant socio-economic injection for local communities and approximately R4-billion will be spent on targeted enterprises during the construction period.

The Deputy Minister of Small Business Development, Nokuzola Capa, said those opposing the N2 Wild Coast Road were clearly not considering the economic benefits for the region and its people. “Doomsayers make the call that the environment is in danger because of the construction of the road without recognising the economic benefits that the project will bring to the community. Our government will continue to create a conducive environment for everyone to succeed and benefit from the project,” she said.  The Deputy Minister further noted that her department had the necessary resources to support and coordinate programmes around SMME development, urging community members and other stakeholders to approach the department.The Executive Mayor of O.R. Tambo District Municipality, Thokozile Sokhanyile, said the stakeholder engagement meeting would also assist in the development of local communities, and urged SMMEs to unite and work closely with SANRAL as well as local and provincial government structures.

“SMMEs need to unite, as opposed to different business formations operating in the district, so that they have one voice when they engage with SANRAL and government generally,” said Councillor Sokhanyile. “We need to have our own Economic Recovery Plan, as stated by President Ramaphosa, and work together as partners and find solutions for SMMEs in the region. SANRAL is here to assist us through infrastructure to support economic development,” she said.

SANRAL’s Regional Manager, Mbulelo Peterson said the road agency’s strategy and policies deliberately focused on the transformation of the construction industry, particularly the impact of SANRAL’s procurement in terms of job creation and opportunities for SMMEs. “As we appoint contractors to execute projects on behalf of SANRAL, we support the  construction industry because this industry is critically important but we also want to maximise the participation of black contractors, professionals, suppliers and designated groups in all our projects,” said Peterson.

SANRAL had partnered with key stakeholders to assist black businesses to benefit from project participation. The roads agency has signed memoranda of understanding (MoUs) with role players in the industry to ensure rapid transformation. The MoUs were signed with BELL, Barloworld, WIRTGEN, Pilot Crushtec, NAFBI and SAFCEC to assist with training of supervisory personnel.

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SANRAL warns public of tenders scam

The South African National Roads Agency SOC Limited (SANRAL) has been made aware of a scam inviting members of the public to tender on its contracts. SANRAL asserts the invitation to tender is fraudulent and did not legitimately emanate from SANRAL.

“The invitations to tender are made in the name of a Ms. Wendy Mhlanzi, supposedly an employee of our supply chain management department. No such individual works or is employed by SANRAL,” says Vusi Mona, SANRAL General Manager of Communications.

The telephone and fax numbers, as well as the email address used are also incorrect, and are not SANRAL’s official contact details. The public should be aware that SANRAL email addresses always include “NRA”, which is an abbreviation for “National Roads Agency”. The email address used in the scam invitation to tender is fake and members of the public must not respond to it. It is listed as XXXXX@nra-agency.co.za.

“We apologise for the inconvenience that this may have caused, and we assure members of the public that we are investigating this matter,” says Mona.

Karino Interchange project underway to be completed in November

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has announced that the Karino Interchange in Mbombela, Mpumalanga is well under way to be completed in November 2021. “This interchange forms of part government’s road infrastructure projects which are delivered through the South African National Roads Agency (SANRAL). The project has brought about job creation and empowered the local and surrounding SMMEs with skills development and subcontracting opportunities,” said Mbalula.

According to Alex van Niekerk, the chief executive officer of Trans African Concessions (TRAC), SANRAL’s concessionaire which manages the N4 Toll Route, the upgrading of the Karino intersection to an interchange is deemed a next phase as part of the original Nelspruit Northern Ring Road project completed in 2010. The interchange is the most important link between Mbombela and Kanyamazane and will provide a direct link from the R514 route to the N4 national road. The R514 also provides access to the Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport.

The N4 and R514 intersection had become a nightmare in handling high traffic volumes, especially during peak hours. The intersection also became notorious for the severity of its accidents over the years.

“In considering the strategic importance of this intersection, the number and growth in traffic turning volumes  due to high commuter traffic  and the traffic safety record, it was recommended that this intersection be upgraded to a grade separated interchange under the Concession contract,” says van Niekerk.

SANRAL’s Northern Region Manager Progress Hlahla says that local SMMEs have also benefitted from this project, across various aspects of the value chain. “Some SMMEs are currently employed at this phase of the project, and there will still be more opportunities for SMMEs to get involved as the project progresses.”

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula hails public-private partnerships in R1.5-billion upgrade to N4 national road.

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has hailed ongoing road improvements to the N4 in Mpumalanga worth R1.5-billion as proof of government’s commitment to working with the private sector in expanding and building critical infrastructure that will contribute to the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan.

Minister Mbalula today (Thursday) conducted a site visit to inspect the road rehabilitation and upgrade of sections of the 570km N4 Toll Route, including the Belfast-Machadodorp section of the N4, and will on Friday conduct a similar inspection of the New Karino Interchange project at Mbombela.

Minister Mbalula said the N4 Toll Route is a catalyst for trade and investment between South Africa’s land-locked provinces, Gauteng, Limpopo, and Mpumalanga, as well as neighbouring countries. “South Africa’s road infrastructure has a critical role to play in the economy and continuous maintenance and upgrades are crucial for the longevity and preservation of our road network asset. The Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan unveiled by President Cyril Ramaphosa in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic places significant emphasis on infrastructure development to enable economic growth. The improvements to the N4, which started before the onset of COVID-19, should make contribution towards that plan, whilst creating 2,200 jobs and empowering SMMEs in the process.

“It is well-known that South Africa’s road infrastructure is world-class, reliable, convenient and safe. We, the South African Government, have clearly stated our intention to unlock and amplify public private partnerships to ensure continuous efforts are made to bolster critical infrastructure such as roads. Our site visits here in Mpumalanga are endorsement of these partnerships. The South African National Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL) and Trans African Concessions (TRAC) have had a long-standing partnership to maintain and improve the quality of the N4 in this part of the world, and we are happy with the work they are doing.”

SANRAL CEO Skhumbuzo Macozoma said: “SANRAL has the responsibility to preserve, improve and develop the national road network which is critical to South Africa’s economic growth prospects. These projects in Mpumalanga are proof that we are approaching this task effectively and efficiently. We are also pleased that our partner TRAC understands our transformation imperatives and is using projects such as these to sub-contract CIDB Grades 1 to 4 SMME companies.  At least 168 SMMEs have been contracted to work on the N4 projects currently underway, amounting to R380-million worth of sub-contracts.”

TRAC CEO Alex van Niekerk said TRAC’s N4 concession is a successful venture for the private sector and government alike. “The project has seen a 214% increase in total traffic on the South African side from 2001 to 2019. Class-4 heavy-vehicle traffic increased by more than 420%, while in Mozambique, Class-4 heavy-vehicle traffic increased by 1 743% as the road opened access to the Maputo port. The economic impact of this improved tool route is there for all to see.”

BACKGROUND TO THE N4 TOLL ROAD UPGRADES

  • The Belfast-Machado road rehabilitation and upgrade: The extensive upgrade between Belfast and Machadodorp on the N4 Toll Route is progressing well and is 26% complete. The R400-million project, which was awarded to WBHO Construction in 2019, is expected to take three years to complete. Roadworks will include the rehabilitation of 30km of Section 5B which will also be upgraded to a four-lane carriageway. The initiative will not only benefit road users but the local community too. In line with an MOU signed between the eMakhazeni Local Municipality, Trans African Concessions (TRAC), SANRAL and WBHO/Motheo JV, 21 local small, medium and micro-enterprises have already been appointed with approximately 300 jobs created.

The upgrade from a two-lane road to a four-lane road will benefit road users in this region in terms of ease of travel, convenience and road safety. The improved vertical alignments, consolidation of farm accesses and additional capacity as part of the widening not only makes the N4 safer but also improves the mobility resulting in reduced travel times and travel costs. The construction of the Machadodorp (eNtokozweni) interchange is also aimed at improved road safety, but still provides convenient access to the town. Local communities are also directly benefitting from the job creation during construction.

On the environmental front, the project is in the upper catchment area of the Elands River with five tributaries/wetlands requiring bridge upgrades and thus the project triggered various environmental permitting requirements. As part of the upgrade additional land has been acquired for the road reserve to accommodate the road widening and future road upgrade requirements. A full Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was conducted during the planning phase guiding the project towards environmental sustainability during the implementation.

Prior to construction a search and rescue of protected plants was done with the assistance of an ecologist transplanting the plants in suitable habitats. The Environmental Authorisation also requires an external audit to be conducted quarterly during construction. Audit reports are submitted to the Environmental Authorities. Internal TRAC environmental inspections are also conducted regularly to monitor environmental compliance. A wetland specialist has also been appointed to assist with recommendations for the rehabilitation of the affected wetlands.

  • The New Karino Interchange: This Mbombela-based project, valued at R390-million, is 50% complete. Managed by Raubex, the project will see the existing intersection transformed into a grade-separated interchange, with on- and off-ramps and a bridge that will separate cross-traffic from through-traffic and thus ease traffic flow at this extremely busy intersection.

This project has brought positive economic benefits for the Mbombela communities, particularly for SMMEs. Many SMME companies continue to benefit by learning new skills and growing their companies. For skills and transformation initiatives, Raubex has introduced LIT (Labour-Intensive Training) to capacitate the locals by giving them practical training. There are over 50 emerging contractors that have benefitted from the project and there are 275 employees on site. Improved and safer access roads with reduced travel times will also stimulate further economic growth through this project, particularly in the area north of the Crocodile River.

The upgrading of the Karino intersection to an interchange is deemed a next phase as part of the original Nelspruit Northern Ring Road project completed during 2010. Environmental approvals were obtained prior to the construction starting on the Ring Road. Nelspruit Botanical Gardens and the Barberton Nature Reserve were recipients of the protected plants removed as part of a search and rescue conducted by an experienced ecologist. Several indigenous trees were saved and transplanted affected by the construction.

The contractor has minimised negative environmental impact on the project as well as disturbance of the natural environment by barricading no-go areas to be left untouched inside the interchange loop areas. As part of the environmental authorisation, quarterly external environmental audits are conducted as well as frequent water quality testing at bridge sites to ensure that all environmental requirements are met. This is also supplemented by additional regular TRAC internal inspections on the project. Alien plant/tree eradication within the newly acquired land areas will also be done.

  • Emalahleni–Middelburg Road Pavement Rehabilitation and Upgrade: The rehabilitation project between the O.R. Tambo and Van Dyksdrift interchanges in the Highveld region is 48% complete, with a completion date of March 2022. The R380-million project, being constructed by Raubex Construction, includes the removal and replacement of concrete slabs from the originally constructed concrete surfaced road, overlaying the entire section with asphalt, and the construction of an additional seven kilometres of passing lanes.

The project has created employment opportunities for locals. There are over 280 workers on site to date, sourced from eMalahleni and Steve Tshwete local municipalities. The 58 SMMEs that are benefitting on this project, to date, have been sourced locally. The communities of eMalahleni and Steve Tshwete have been given an opportunity to supply machinery equipment/plant and provide ancillary services such as v-drains, stone pitching, gabions, guardrails, fencing, road marking and road signs. Other services including security, traffic accommodation and drainage to name a few. Subcontractors have been appointed, giving them an opportunity to be empowered and for the relevant technical skills to be transferred to them.

There has been minimal negative environmental impact on this project. Internal environmental monitoring is continuously conducted to ensure that all environmental principles and compliance with TRAC’s generic environmental management plan (EMP) takes place. For example, removed concrete pavement blocks are crushed and reused in the pavement layers.

  • Kaapmuiden to Kaalrug Rehabilitation and Upgrade: This 15.5km road project includes upgrading the carriageway to four lanes and the rehabilitation of the existing road. The project is 70% complete and expected to be concluded in August 2021. The project is worth R340 million and is situated in the rural outskirts of Mpumalanga bordered by Mozambique, where unemployment is high. Through this project, 213 local community members and 51 SMMEs between CIBD Grades 1 and 4 have been employed.

The key motivation with appointing SMMEs of these Grades is to transfer skills and develop the lower graded companies to a higher grading, while also preparing them for the next phases of the project. The contractor has also paired specialised companies with local SMMEs to give them the platform to understand how the construction industry operates. The contractor has also added a few courses that focus on occupational health, safety, and environmental training as part of skills development. This has benefitted unemployed youth from Nkomazi Local Municipally. Moreover, the upgrade from a two-lane road to a four-lane road will benefit road users in this region in terms of ease of travel, convenience, and road safety. The consolidation of farm accesses and additional capacity as part of the widening not only makes the N4 safer but also improves the mobility resulting in reduced travel times and travel costs. 

A basic environmental assessment has been conducted and an Environmental Authorisation has been obtained. Protected trees have been saved as far as practically possible. External environmental audits and frequent water testing are conducted, and reports are submitted to the environmental authorities supplemented by regular TRAC internal environmental audits.

 

Machine Learning – feel it, it is here!

SANRAL’s Technical Innovation Hub (TIH) is currently probing the extent to which machine learning can be harnessed in the quest to improve road safety, reduce congestion and inform infrastructure development.

The TIH is at the forefront of harnessing technology to inform, improve and expedite road safety across the South African road network, drawing from extensive research into industry best practise and collaborations with various stakeholders in the road safety arena, both nationally and abroad.

Ruan Van Breda, Mechatronic Engineer in the TIH explains: “Machine learning can be used to detect and segment objects within a camera frame (each frame of a video is analysed as a still image). These objects can then be classified based on pre-trained image classifiers. Within the road environment, this allows one to detect and classify different type of vehicles, pedestrians, different types of animals, cyclists, etc.”

The possibilities are infinite, based on what training data is available. Currently there is already ample data available for the above-mentioned classification types. However, Van Breda explains that these genres can be further expanded through the creation of custom data sets and training classifiers, to be able to distinguish, for example, between slow moving traffic and a road traffic crash.  This can also be used to create new classification classes based on unique experiences, or the requirements of the road authority e.g. fire or protest detection, foreign objects such as rocks, tyre detection, etc. This information can then be used to activate the appropriate response through the Road Incident Management System (RIMS), remedy the situation and inform road users – in real time.

“One can also look at how these different objects interact with one another, e.g. to detect unusual vehicle behaviour, like a vehicle stopping on the freeway. One is furthermore able to infer information about the interaction between multiple elements such as cars and pedestrians. If a vehicle is detected moving to the side of the road and coming to a standstill and pedestrians are detected moving towards the vehicle and enter the vehicle, this can be classified as an informal pick-up. As more and more data is collected, these trends can either aid road authorities with infrastructure planning such as drop-off / pick-up points or aid law enforcement to stop illegal pick-ups if it is considered a safety risk,” continued Van Breda.

Technology of this nature also comes with significant risks. However, all efforts are being made to understand how to effectively use the technology while maintaining strict compliance with legislation as it relates to the privacy of road users. Some of the ways to mitigate these potential privacy risks, are to use strict security and access controls. Data can also be anonymous at the point of capture. After all, the intention is not to observe individuals, but rather to identify trends and incidents to inform appropriate response and interventions.

“While this technology is still in the exploratory phase in South Africa, it already has tongues wagging in countries like China, where they use machine learning to incorporate facial recognition for law enforcement. They are able to identify the driver of a vehicle and instantly issue fines, if that driver does not have a valid driver’s license. Fines can also be issued automatically for individuals who jay-walk or gain access to restricted areas. As with any technological advances, there are pros and cons and in a complex society like South Africa, for now, let’s look and learn,” concluded Van Breda.

Construction begins on N3 upgrade between Cato Ridge and Dardanelles

Construction on the upgrade of the N3, Section 2, from Cato Ridge to Dardanelles will begin this week. Under this 48-month contract, the existing 4-lane dual carriageway will be increased to an 8-lane dual carriageway for 6.4km and will significantly increase the capacity of the road.

A road-over rail bridge will be extended to accommodate the widening of the road, together with numerous box culverts and pipe culverts. Furthermore, the upgrade will include the installation of lighting along the 6.4km.

The R103 provincial road, which runs next to the N3, will also be upgraded between the outer limits of the contract. A new section of R103 will be constructed alongside the N3 on the southern side between Camperdown Interchange and the existing R103.

“This project, which comes at a cost of approximately R1.45bn was necessitated by high crash statistics as well as poor conditions of the pavement. The upgrade will increase safety but also significantly improve the level of service (LOS) for the next 30 years,” said Mohamed Parak, SANRAL Project Manager.

In line with SANRAL’s transformation objectives, at least R400m will be subcontracted to SMMEs while just over R100m will be spent on local labour.

The initial stages of construction will consist of major maintenance works along the N3 as well as the adjacent provincial roads to accommodate traffic during construction. The patching and re-surfacing of the existing R103 will commence 19 April, until the end of July 2021, while the patching of the N3 will be carried out at night between 19h00 and 05h00 and should be completed towards the end of July 2021. For the maintenance works, Stop/Go restrictions will be in place on the R103. For the N3, no closures are envisaged for the maintenance works, however, the work will be accommodated with some restrictions and with traffic control measures in place.

The main upgrading activities on the N3 are expected to commence in June 2021, starting with the widening of the Durban-bound carriageway. During major construction activities 2-lane traffic flow in each direction will be maintained on the N3, with minimal disruption to the traffic once traffic control measures are in place.

“We appeal to road users to note and comply with the advance warning signs and speed restrictions, when travelling past the construction work zones.  To prioritise the safety of both the construction workers and road users, the speed limit along the route will be reduced to 80km/hr during construction. Motorists are encouraged to plan their journeys accordingly, and to make provision for the additional travel time,” concluded Parak.

SANRAL announces projects in Inxuba Yethemba Local Municipality

SANRAL announced it is investing approximately R1.2 billion in road construction projects in Cradock and Middelburg in the Eastern Cape over the next three years.

SANRAL, in collaboration with Inxuba Yethemba Local Municipality, hosted various stakeholders over a two-day period on Tuesday and Wednesday this week. SANRAL Southern Region’s Stakeholder Relations Coordinator Welekazi Ndika gave an update on projects within the Inxuba Yethemba Local Municipality and the municipality announced which projects were to be handed over to the communities and an update on projects still being completed.

SANRAL has used this platform to strengthen its relationship with stakeholders through its flagship stakeholder Engagement programme, Taking SANRAL to the People. The Agency also shared information about its continuing role in infrastructure development, job creation and skills development, as well as to engage in dialogue on issues of mutual interest with stakeholders.

The event also gave community members a platform to share their concerns about unemployment and project participation in SANRAL road construction projects in the municipality. In particular, there was also a request to develop youth and people with disabilities to be part of the Project Liaison Committee (PLC).

Among the guests were the Chris Hani District Municipality Executive Mayor, Councillor Wongama Gela, Inxuba Yethemba Local Municipality Executive Mayor Councillor Noncedo Zonke, Municipal representatives, Project Liaison Committee members (PLCs members), community members and SMMEs.

“SANRAL has a lot of projects in Inxuba Yethemba Local Municipality. The bulk of the work on the projects that use to be routine road maintenance projects are now going to be done by our SMMEs. This news should come directly to SMMEs. When processes unfold then everybody knows what is to be done,” said Zonke during her opening remarks.

Welekazi Ndika, SANRAL Southern Region Stakeholder Relations Coordinator, announced the three special maintenance projects, five routine road maintenance projects, and one road upgrade project in Cradock and Middelburg.

The projects in Inxuba Yethemba Local Municipality are in various stages, some in tender stage, some construction, whilst others will have a contractor appointment shortly.

The special maintenance projects are:

  • Cradock to Hofmeyr with an estimated budget of R200 million;
  • Cradock to Tarkastad project is estimated at R150 million;
  • Middelburg to Molteno with an estimated budget of R350 million,

Fish River to Cradock is a road upgrade project with an estimated budget of R250 million.

Routine Road Maintenance (RRM) projects are:

  • N10 Nanaga to Middelburg estimated budget of R51 million,
  • R61: N9 to N6 RRM project’s estimated budget is R52 million,
  • Middelburg has an estimated budged of R60 million for three years
  • Cradock with an estimated budget of R60 million for three years

SANRAL’s mandate includes performing Routine Road Maintenance (RRM) of the road network. In this regard, the Agency maintains several routes within Inxuba Yethemba Local Municipality.

Ndika also shared information on the agency’s 14-Point-Plan which serves to facilitate better project level liaison with local communities and structures.  The Plan also serves to ensure communication and transparency in the execution of works, ensuring inclusivity in the allocation of projects to benefit black business and local communities. She furthermore elaborated on the principles for the project subcontracting and labour sourcing on all SANRAL projects.

TRAC releases Easter accident stats

With South Africa remaining on Covid-19 alert level one for the 2021 Easter period, a significant increase in traffic was experienced along the N4 Toll Route over the four-day long weekend. Traffic was exceptionally high around the Middelburg and Machado plazas, with many road users making their way to and from Mpumalanga’s Lowveld region.

Fifty-two accidents and two fatalities were recorded between Thursday 1 April and Monday 5 April 2021 – 32 of which were in South Africa and 20 in Mozambique. This figure is unfortunately higher than that of 2019 and 2020, bearing in mind that no leisure travel was allowed during 2020’s Easter period due to South Africa’s covid-related lockdown.

As predicted, traffic peaked on Thursday afternoon, Friday morning and on Monday from 11am. To buffer the risks associated with the increased traffic volumes the TRAC Helpdesk and TRACAssist partnered with the bulk of provincial and private emergency services, law enforcement agencies and other relevant stakeholders along the N4 Toll Route. This formed part of the TRAC N4 Easter 2021 Road Safety and Swift Response Campaign, which aimed to reduce response times to roadside emergencies and incidents.

TRAC also focused on boosting its safety messaging. This was done via a road safety activation at Alzu Petroport in Belfast, where TRAC representatives engaged with road users and encouraged them to obey road regulations and be responsible and courteous on the road.

Despite TRAC’s efforts to avoid delays along the route, traffic backlogs were unfortunately experienced on certain sections of the road due to a combination of high traffic volumes, road improvement construction sites and accidents. TRAC thanks road users for their patience during these delays and reminds them that it is imperative to plan one’s trip, especially during peak traffic times, to avoid such frustrations.

One of the most positive factors of the 2021 Easter weekend was the steady traffic flow witnessed at the Lebombo Border Post. This international crossing has come under fire often during peak travel days, due to heavy backlogs experienced en-route to the facility. However, throughout the 2021 Easter period, no major backlogs were experienced due to a well-led traffic management campaign by the provincial traffic department.