A major reason for the improvement had been the high volume of traffic between QwaQwa and Harrismith.
While the big yellow machines have moved off site upon completion of the upgrading of the N5 between Harrismith and Industriqwa, a legacy of empowerment remains with scores of youth and women who have benefited from jobs during the construction.
Women and youth earned more than R11.2-million during construction. And 17 sub-contractors (SMMEs) from the community undertook some of the construction works under the supervision of the main contractor.
The original tender amount was R292-million. The final contract amount was R343-million due to relocation of services and delays caused by inclement weather.
The contract involved a 6km section of the N5 from the N3/N5 interchange to Industriqwa. The project included the construction of a new interchange where Murray Street links the N5 to the Harrismith CBD.
SANRAL Eastern Region Project Manager Andrew Ssekayita said a major reason for the improvement had been the high volume of traffic between QwaQwa and Harrismith.
The project, which commenced in October 2015, involved grade separation and new interchange ramps at the N5/Murray Street intersection; widening the road to four lanes and corresponding widening of four bridges; construction of a new two-lane bridge over the Wilge River at Murray Street; closure of an intersection on the N5 and provision of a new access road from Murray Street; as well as provision of taxi lay-bys and pedestrian facilities at the interchange.
SANRAL left the historical single-lane Hamilton Bridge over the Wilge River intact and instead constructed a new double-lane bridge next to the current one on Murray Street.