Pietermaritzburg 12 November 2021 – The South African National Roads Agency SOC Limited (SANRAL) has hailed the successful commencement of construction of the Kokstad Interchange and Traffic Control Centre, which began on Wednesday 1 September 2021 and is due for completion in the first quarter of 2024. The project consists of the construction of a standard interchange with two on- and two off-ramps linking the N2 to the R56. The new alignment of the R56 will pass over the N2 via the new Kokstad Interchange Overpass. In addition to the overpass, one river bridge will be widened, seven cast in situ culverts will be constructed to provide river crossings, and an agricultural underpass will be built.

For the convenience of the travelling public, an attempt will be made to have two lanes open to traffic at all times. To cater for this, the project has been divided into four stages of construction, the first of which commenced on 1 September 2021. For the purpose of the installation of traffic control facilities, short duration STOP/GO traffic accommodation will be implemented during day light hours.

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

During stage one, traffic will be accommodated on the existing N2 and transferred to the R56 via a temporary link with a T-junction on the R56. The construction of the temporary link leading from the N2 to the R56 as well as the widening of the N2 to accommodate two-way traffic have been completed. In addition to this, the existing lanes on the R56 have been widened to accommodate the turning lane and bell mouth at the R56 T-junction Intersection. “With the completion of the widening of the existing N2, the construction of the T-junction and turning lane on the R56, traffic is to be moved from the existing road leading to the Kokstad/Mthatha T-junction as well as the existing slip road leading from Kokstad to Port Shepstone onto the newly completed deviation. The existing roads currently in use, Kokstad to Port Shepstone slip road and Kokstad/Mthatha T junction, will be barricaded off to prevent road users from entering into the dangers of the construction site. It is anticipated that this will take place towards 22 November 2021,” said Parak.

Towards the middle of February 2022, a temporary bypass will be constructed on the right-hand side of the N2 at Kilometer mark (Km) 7.2 to accommodate traffic in two lanes while the construction of the tie in at Km 7.2 takes place. During the construction of this bypass, the traffic lane from Port Shepstone to Kokstad will be reduced in width. In addition to this the traffic lane for traffic travelling from Kokstad to Mthatha will be reduced in width to make provision for the construction of a bypass on the right-hand side of the N2 at Km 5.5.

“SANRAL would like to apologise for the temporary inconvenience and disruption these operations will cause to the travelling public. The construction team appreciates your patience. It is important to note that upon completion, the works will be of long-term benefit to all road users,” said Parak.