Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga says R216 million Montrose Interchange is significant step for economic growth

Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga says R216 million Montrose Interchange is significant step for economic growth

Mpumalanga, 8 September 2023 – Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga says the new R216 million Montrose Interchange on the N4 in Mpumalanga is a prime example of government delivering on its mandate to build better and safer road networks which will help to grow the economy and create jobs.

Minister Chikunga officially opened the Montrose Interchange today and hailed the project as a model of cooperation between the National Department of Transport, the state’s roads agency, South African National Roads Agency SOC Limited (SANRAL), and the private sector. In this case, SANRAL’s partnership with Trans Africa Concessions (TRAC), working together with provincial and local government, had delivered a new, state-of-the-art piece of road infrastructure which met the best engineering and construction standards in the world, said Minister Chikunga.

“This project shows us that South Africa has the capability to build freeway interchanges that can compare to any similar project in countries with advanced and highly developed economies,” said Minister Chikunga. “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. In other words, it’s a perfect example of a public-private partnership.”

“President Cyril Ramaphosa has instructed his cabinet ministers to do everything in our power to grow the economy, create jobs and fight poverty. The Montrose Interchange and all the other projects which SANRAL is busy constructing across the country, together with the private sector, is indisputable evidence that government agencies are working hard to improve the lives of all South Africans,” she said.

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,” said Demana.

The construction of the project, which started in November 2021, is aimed at improving mobility and to facilitate trade and logistics between South Africa and Mozambique, especially exports and imports via Maputo Harbour.

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

The newly upgraded interchange presented locals with employment and business opportunities, with more than 350 labourers employed on the project over 20 months and more than 20 local companies participated as subcontractors.

Many SMMEs benefited by learning new skills and growing their companies. For skills and transformation initiatives, Raubex introduced LIT (Labour-Intensive Training) to capacitate locals by giving them practical work experience before the formal training from an accredited training institution. This enabled them to understand their scope of work better before moving to the theoretical platform. Forty-four (44) emerging contractors have benefitted from the project and 834 local people benefitted through employment.

The project received praise from officials and the traditional leaders who were in attendance.

Phindile Sibiya, a health and safety officer who worked on the project, said she was proud to have played a part in building such an iconic piece of infrastructure. “It’s been a pleasure working on this project and it has inspired me to further my studies so that I can become a safety officer and also explore other opportunities,” she said.

Expressing her appreciation for the project, the Mayor of 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 spinoff by making it easier and safer to access neighbouring provinces and countries” she said.

SANRAL remains committed to its mandate of delivering a safe and reliable road network to improve the lives of communities.