R216 million Montrose Interchange boosts economic growth

Transport Minister Chikunga officially opened the R216 million Montrose Interchange on the N4 in Mpumalanga on 8 September, and hailed the project as a model of cooperation between the National Department of Transport, the state’s roads agency SANRAL, and the private sector. SANRAL’s partnership with Trans Africa Concessions (TRAC), working together with provincial and local government, delivered state-of-the-art road infrastructure which meets the best engineering and construction standards in the world, she said.

“This project shows us that South Africa has the capability to build freeway interchanges that can compare to any similar projects in countries with advanced and highly developed economies,” Minister Chikunga added. “We are extremely proud of this achievement and it is yet another reason for us to celebrate the work of SANRAL, together with private sector partners such as TRAC. It’s a perfect example of a public-private partnership.”

Mpumalanga’s MEC for Public Works, Roads and Transport, Mandla Ndlovu, said the Montrose Interchange showed that all levels of government were working together to grow the economy. “I want to thank the national government, SANRAL and TRAC for delivering this project for the benefit of Mpumalanga and indeed South Africa and Mozambique as well,” he said.

SANRAL Chief Executive Officer Reginald Demana said the Montrose Interchange would significantly improve safety, reduce the number of accidents, and help to ensure the free flow of people and goods between South Africa and Mozambique.

“The new Montrose Interchange is a major feature of the N4 Maputo Corridor which connects Mpumalanga, Gauteng and North West to Mozambique. This is an economic development corridor which has proven to be a significant driver of growth in the region,” Demana said.

Construction of the project, which started in November 2021, aimed at improving mobility and facilitating trade and logistics between South Africa and Mozambique, especially exports and imports via Maputo Harbour.

The scope of works included realigning 600m of the existing Schoemanskloof road, construction of four new interchange ramps, widening the existing two-lane Crocodile River Bridge from two to five lanes, and two new signature arch bridges.

The project is a prime example of government and SANRAL delivering on their mandate to build better and safer road networks which will help to grow the economy and create jobs. It provided employment and business opportunities, with more than 350 local labourers employed over 20 months and more than 20 local companies participating as subcontractors.

Many SMMEs benefitted by learning new skills and growing their companies. Raubex introduced LIT (labour-intensive training) to capacitate locals by giving them practical work experience before formal training by an accredited training institution. Forty-four emerging contractors benefitted from the project and 834 local people gained employment.

Mayor of the City of Mbombela, Councillor Sibongile Makushe, said she was proud of the sterling work by the Department of Transport and SANRAL. “The construction of this interchange has already uplifted local communities and will undoubtedly have an even greater economic spin-off by making it easier and safer to access neighbouring provinces and countries,” she said.