Road repair project in final year

2019-02-12 06:00

The Kommetjie Road project is in its final year and road users can expect some relief at the Kommetjie Road and Capri Drive intersection with the addition of a dedicated left-turn lane for those travelling in a westerly direction towards Kommetjie.

The project is one of the City of Cape Town’s biggest congestion relief initiatives, with a total investment of R194m over three years. The site covers an area of 20 000m² or 20 hectares each day, and most of the work is taking place in the trenches where new underground services – such as water mains, sewer pipelines and electricity cables – are being installed to benefit far south residents. Mayco member for transport Felicity Purchase says the project is a major infrastructure initiative. “At least 100 people are working on this site. Visitors and those living in Noordhoek, Kommetjie, Masiphumelele, Ocean View and Fish Hoek should regard this area as a huge construction site. The inconvenience that goes with a project of this scale is unavoidable because we’re building new roads and replacing underground infrastructure while everything else above ground – from traffic to water provision and the rest – must still carry on regardless,” says Purchase.

She adds that the project will be completed by the end of the year, pending any unforeseen challenges or delays. “To put it in perspective: we’re spending an average of R6.4m a month on this site, inclusive of the labour and material. The contractor is working strictly according to the project schedule, and is meeting the deadlines for milestones,” says Purchase.

All in all, the Kommetjie Road project entails roadworks covering a distance of approximately 3.5km:

. the upgrade of Kommetjie Road (M65) to a four-lane dual-carriageway between Capri Drive and Corsair Way, and the rehabilitation of the existing roadway

. the upgrade of Ou Kaapse Weg (M6) to a four-lane dual-carriageway between Noordhoek Main Road and Kommetjie Road, and the rehabilitation of the existing roadway

. the upgrade of the intersection at Ou Kaapse Weg and Silvermine Road to improve the sight distance for road users

. the upgrade of the four signalised intersections with additional turning lanes to improve the capacity and flow of traffic at Kommetjie Road and Capri Drive; Kommetjie Road and Ou Kaapse Weg; Ou Kaapse Weg and Buller Louw Boulevard; and at Ou Kaapse Weg and Noordhoek Main Road

Purchase says some residents complain that they don’t see workers on site. “The irony is that most of the work is happening underground, in trenches in the road reserve, where labourers are replacing old water mains, stormwater pipelines and electricity cables with new infrastructure that will last at least another 50 years. Residents must also bear in mind that we can only build the new lanes after we’ve installed the new underground services,” she says.Underground services being replaced or relocated:

. three water mains

. one sewer main

. new stormwater infrastructure to support the existing and new lanes

. conduits for fibre-optic telecommunication networks

. high- and medium-voltage electrical cabling for new street lights

“Insofar as the traffic congestion is concerned, I want to point out that we have the same number of lanes available to traffic as on the day when the project started. Thus, the carrying capacity of the road network in this area is still the same as before. This is one of the conditions of the contract and the contractor is complying with this condition under trying circumstances. We suspect that the increase in traffic volume is due to population growth, as well as the poor state of the rail service which has a severe impact on the lines to and from the far south, forcing more people to use their cars to get to work,” says Purchase.

The City will also replace the dated signalling infrastructure at this intersection with new signalling technology. The technology replaces some of the magnetic loops with cameras to do vehicle detection and change the phasing of the traffic signal in accordance with the traffic volume.

“The time allocated to the green phase for traffic to cross the intersection is therefore still determined by the number of vehicles. This also means the light will only change to red if there is traffic coming from another direction that needs to cross the intersection. Road users are advised to consider travelling outside of the peak hour periods, if possible,’’ said Purchase.

Purchase admits that not everybody can travel off peak, but those who can must try to avoid Kommetjie Road, Ou Kaapse Weg, and Noordhoek Main Road between 06:00 and 09:00 and between 14:30 and 18:30 on weekdays. It’s tourist season and the first four months of the new year are always busy before we see a drop in vehicle numbers going into the winter.

“Residents must also understand that the deployment of traffic officers at the worst affected intersections is dependent on the availability of resources. I live in this area and am fully aware of the impact of the project; but once completed, we’ll all benefit from the additional lanes and the investment in the underground services,” she says.

Community representatives are reminded of the community liaison meetings that take place every two months. The meetings give the communities update on the progress of the project. They also provide a forum to raise concerns. The project team is present at these meetings to jointly explore possible solutions. V Residents who want to attend these meetings should contact Claudette Muller at Chand Environmental Consultants at support@chand.co.za.

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