The R335 upgrade from Motherwell to Addo in the Eastern Cape set to improve mobility


The R335 upgrade from Motherwell to Addo in the Eastern Cape set to improve mobility

Caption: Engineers, project managers, the contractor and PLC members at the stakeholder engagement session in Motherwell

Gqeberha, Friday, 24 May 2024 – The South African National Roads Agency (SOC) Ltd (SANRAL) has reassured the Motherwell community in the Nelson Mandela Metro, and Addo in the Sundays River Valley Municipality, of the socio-economic benefits associated with the upcoming 25km-long improvement to the R335 road.

A contractor for Phase 1 of the project was introduced during a recent stakeholder engagement session held at the Raymond Mhlaba Sports Centre in Motherwell.

The project value is R874-million, with the estimated completion date being March 2027. The scope of work includes upgrading the urban section in Motherwell to a four-lane dual carriageway, divided by a median from Maku Street to the R334 Kariega junction.

The lane width will be increased from 6m to 12m. Single traffic lanes in both directions will be widened by three metres and a shoulder lane will be added. The speed limit of 80km/h will be increased to 120km/h.

The road connects Motherwell to the citrus towns of Addo and Kirkwood in the Sundays River Valley Municipality. It is used mainly by trucks ferrying produce to markets in the ports of Ngqurha in Gqeberha. Over the years, due to minimum maintenance being carried out it has suffered structurally.

Project manager, Iqbal Hoosen, said the R335 project would be massive with upgrades to stormwater drainage and widening or replacement of bridges and culverts.

“A minimum 8% of the project value has been set aside for targeted labour – which will be prioritised for people with disabilities, women, military veterans, and youth – with the remainder set aside for previously disadvantaged individuals,” Hoosen said.

He cautioned against using work stoppages to try and enforce community needs.

“Bring anything you are unhappy with to the attention of the engineers or project manager,” he advised. “Community issues should not stop the project because it costs money, that comes from National Treasury through taxes. The security of the expensive equipment used is also paramount and residents should bring any theft or vandalism to the attention of the police,” he added.

SANRAL Stakeholder Relations Coordinator, Welekazi Ndika, said communication would be key and it was crucial that Project Liaison Committee members shared every piece of information.

“This will help in the smooth running of the project. Reporting channels to your constituency must be clearly defined and meetings must be called within a reasonable time,” said Ndika.

Contractor Victor Ngcobo said all the work would be done through a tendering process and the statutory minimum wage rate will be applicable.

“A minimum of 30% of the project value, which is equivalent to R262-million, will be for targeted enterprises owned by designated groups. Eight percent will be set aside for local labour, amounting to R69-million. A minimum of 47 work packages will be subcontracted to targeted enterprises,” he said.

To address safety aspects, the improved road will have dedicated walkways and bus bays, pedestrian crossings, two roundabouts, and new street lighting will be installed.

Formal training by accredited training service providers will be provided to the targeted enterprises, while all labourers employed will receive informal training.

Residents called for transparency during the project, as lack of it often resulted in protests.