Congestion-buster

2010-04-27 00:00

IT’S all systems go for the upgrading of the N3-Chota Motala Road interchange now that the contract of almost R300 million has been awarded and the plans have been approved.

With construction set to begin any day now, the roadworks are expected to continue for the next 27 months until June 2012.

Motorists who drive through the congested intersection are likely to be frustrated even more for the next two years because compulsory lane restrictions look set to jam up traffic even more than they do already.

Priya Pillay of the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) said the upgrade will be a jointly funded operation that is likely to cost about R288 million in total.

Of that total, the Msunduzi Municipality will commit itself to the project by injecting roughly R72 million.

Pillay said Msunduzi’s contribution will be used only for the upgrading of Chota Motala Road and that Sanral will fund the rest of the upgrade.

“The site was handed over to the contractors at the end of March and construction should start at any time,” she added.

The upgrading of the interchange, which has been characterised by bumper-to-bumper traffic during peak periods for the past few years, is long overdue.

The Witness understands that one of the main reasons for the delay in getting the project off the ground had to do with Sanral waiting for confirmation from the municipality that it would contribute its portion for the construction.

Another factor that contributed to the postponement had to do with bidders requesting that the closing date for the contract be extended. The bidders said they were dealing with a complicated project and needed more time to ensure that they could fulfill all the necessary requirements, sources told The Witness.

Earlier this year, The Witness reported that Sanral had already carried out the necessary design work for the upgrade and the municipality had agreed to contribute R54 767 287.

The acting municipal manager, Thokozani Maseko, said at the time: “The amount is considered reasonable compared to the initial estimate of R94 million, which was considered not financially viable for council.”

However, the municipality’s contribution has now escalated from the “financially viable” amount of R54  767 287 to R72 million in a few months.

Attempts to get comment from Maseko were not successful.

Councillor Peter Green, under whose ward the construction will take place, said he has not seen the final plans — or the layout — but he is nevertheless very happy that something is finally going to be done to ease to the severe traffic congestion associated with this stretch of road.

ZONE 1: The broadening of Chota Motala (Old Greytown) Road between Otto’s Bluff Road and Masukwana (East) Street.

 

Phase 1: Vehicles will use the existing road while work on the new bridge, the widening of the road and new earthworks continues along the western side.

 

Phase 2: Vehicles will be rerouted on to the new bridges and road and the existing bridges over the N3 and Dorpspruit are set to be demolished and replaced.

New interchange ramps will be built to match the levels of the bridges.

At some point during the construction, vehicles will be restricted to one through lane that will be manned by stop-and-go controls.

On weekends, it is possible that vehicles will not be permitted to use the interchange for periods of between two to three hours.

Drivers will be advised to make use of alternative routes, such as Manning or Ohrtmann roads, to access the CBD during such times.

 

Zone 2: The broadening of the N3 from Sanctuary to Chota Motala roads.

The freeway from the north of the Sanctuary Road interchange to the south of Chota Motala Road will be broadened into three lanes in each direction.

The work will be carried out in multiple phases and there will be restrictions in both directions. Two lanes will be open to vehicles in each direction and there will be channelisation between temporary concrete barriers.

Motorists can expect speed limits to be imposed and are advised to drive cautiously through the construction zone while observing warning signs and lane closures.

PHASE 1: The first part of the upgrade will be the construction of a new bridge over the N3 highway, which will start shortly.

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