Work on N8 set to finish next year

2016-04-06 06:00

CONSTRUCTION work currently underway to upgrade the N8 stretch between Bloemfontein and Thaba ’Nchu is set to be completed in January next year, according to the South African National Roads Agency (Sanral).

According to the road agency’s plan, 30 January 2017 is set as the completion date of the entire project, which is divided into two phases.

The first phase is the 28 km stretch between Thaba Nchu and Sannaspos. Work to upgrade the road began in December 2013 and is expected to be completed in June this year.

The second phase is the 24 km stretch between Sannaspos and Bloemfontein, with the completion date set for 30 January 2017. Work on this phase began at the end of October 2014.

Jason Lowe, project manager of Sanral: eastern region, said the huge increase in the use of the N8, resulting in a rapid increase in the traffic volume, had prompted major improvement to the road. He said completion of the second phase, expected in January next year, would mark the end of the entire multi-million rand project.

Lowe said two separate tenders had been put out for the improvements. The first contract was valued at R463 million for upgrading of the 28 km stretch between Thaba ’Nchu and Sannaspos.

The second contract was valued at R461 million for upgrading the 24 km stretch between Sannaspos and Bloemfontein.

“The rehabilitation and upgrading will result in a road of higher standard, both in terms of alignment and capacity.

“It will also result in higher mobility, lower driver stress and safer travel,” said Lowe.

He said the improvements, which followed a huge increase in the use of the N8, impacted heavily on existing pavement layers and surfacing on certain sections that had reached their serviceable lifespan.

Lowe said the scope of work included safety improvements on high-accident zones, such as the S-bend near the Sepane Rail Bridge, which would be eliminated.

“There will be less chance of flooding of the roadway, due to the construction of bridges over major rivers at a level higher than the existing ones,” said Lowe.

In addition, he said intersections were to be formalised, provision for right turn lanes were to be made as well as median refuse areas (rubbish bins placed at islands).

Until completion of the second phase, motorists travelling daily on the N8 road, especially those commuting between Mangaung Metro towns, Botshabelo and Thaba Nchu and Bloemfontein city, will

have to contend with disruptions arising from the major construction underway. Lowe said the other positive spin-offs were the creation of 332 jobs, enlistment of 143 small businesses and a boost to the Mangaung Metro’s economy.

The rehabilitation and upgra­ding will result in a road of higher standard, both in terms of alignment and capacity.

It will also result in higher mobility, lower driver stress and safer travel. X Jason Lowe

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