Additional toll gates for N3?

2015-12-16 06:00

WHETHER additional toll gates will be put up between Pietermaritzburg and Durban after the R15 billion N3 upgrade project has been finished remains to be seen.

The South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) regional office manager, Logashri Sewnarain, told the Executive Committee (Exco) that “the decision lies in the hands of the Treasury minister and other ministers”, she said after Sanral told Exco what the upgrade will cost.

“We are busy with the detailed design right now. These are major projects so the design should take about two years and then afterwards, pending the decision from the Presidential Infrastructure Co-ordinating Commission (PICC) for the funding, only then can we proceed. “In terms of ambushing you all on whether we know this will be a toll road or if it will be funder via the user pay principle, unfortunately, we are just the implementing agent of government. We have to go with the decision that Treasury gives us.

“If Treasury gives us the money we can build it. The decision on whether it will be tolled will be a bigger decision than us.

“That decision will be taken from Treasury and the other ministers, then we will just implement as soon as we get funding,” said Sewnarain. The upgrade is part of the Durban, Free State and Gauteng corridor upgrade aimed to ease traffic at Key Ridge, Townhill and Van Reenen.

Sanral design and construction divisional manager, Ravi Ronny, said the N3 corridor is the busiest road freight corridor in the country and any road accidents which affect the free flow of the N3 has economic setbacks. “The N3 corridor is the busiest road freight corridor in South Africa. In addition it’s also a passenger corridor because of the vast amount of passenger vehicles that use it. The N3 carries 40 million tons of freight a year,” said Ronny. The N3 between Durban and Pietermaritzburg was completed between 1961 and 1963 and in the mid-80s current toll section between Paradise Valley and Key Ridge was constructed.

The N3 carries between 40 000 and 120 000 vehicles a day and consists of a mix of urban commuter traffic, long-distance traffic and substantial heavy vehicles. “When upgrading the N3 we need to take into consideration the size of the N3 freight volumes.

“We are planning to add two or three lanes per direction. So in some sections you will have a 10-lane freeway and in some sections you will have an eight-lane freeway,” said Ronny.

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