Hilton ratepayers want N3 alternative route upgraded

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PHOTO: Ian carbutt
PHOTO: Ian carbutt

Residents who live along the alternative route to the N3 at Townhill, take note.

The traffic there is set to increase dramatically as the N3 could close at times to all traffic except heavy vehicles. The Hilton Ratepayers Association wants the South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) to upgrade the alternative route and inform all residents about lane closures, alternative routes and more before they start with the rehabilitation of the N3 on Town Hill. They also want the agency to accept its six stage plan of maintaining, upgrading and repairing the alternative route.

“The aim is for Sanral to formally accept that the alternative route must be maintained, upgraded and repaired urgently to safely accommodate the greatly increased traffic flow on the alternative route caused by lane closures on Town Hill.”
Mike Tarr, Hilton Ratepayers Association

Mike Tarr, of the association, said a construction company recently received the contract for rehabilitation of the section of the N3 freeway between Hilton Interchange and Sanctuary Road Interchange. He said the R270-million contract will start in February 2021 and is due to finish in 2023. The contractor will keep the N3’s lanes open wherever possible, however, there will be long periods when only one lane will be available for traffic. That lane will be reserved for trucks and all light vehicles will have to drive the alternative routes, Tarr explained. The alternative routes is along Old Howick Road, past Greys Hospital to Chatterton circle.

Tarr said a six-stage plan to maintain, upgrade and repair the alternative route has been compiled by a engineers resident in the three Wards through which the alternative route passes. The plan has been discussed informally with Sanral, the consulting engineers and the contractors and agreement obtained in principle of its necessity. The plan is yet to be presented formally to Sanral. “The aim is for Sanral to formally accept that the alternative route must be maintained, upgraded and repaired urgently to safely accommodate the greatly increased traffic flow on the alternative route caused by lane closures on Town Hill,” Tarr said.

The six stages of the proposed plan are:

• Stage One: Confirm with Sanral the availability of funding.

• Stage Two: Sanral to embark on a publicity exercise via the print media and social media to inform residents of the scope of the road rehabilitation contract, the contract period and to advise regarding lane closures on the N3 and the need for light vehicles to use the alternative route.

• Stage Three: Sanral to carry out a full and detailed Road Safety Audit to identify the improvements to the route required. “This could include new traffic markings, new reflective road studs, high visibility signage, cutting of grass at the road edges, installation of additional guardrails, the installation of the red/white chevron markers on sharp bends as well as repairs to street lighting to ensure that all lights along the route are functional.”

• Stage Four: Sanral to carry out a Visual Pavement Assessment of the road surface along the full 15km of the alternative route to identify areas of the road surface that require repair and resurfacing.

• Stage Five: Sanral to carry out a Traffic Capacity Study at Chatterton Road roundabout, Sanctuary Road interchange and key intersections on the alternative route to identify measures required to maintain traffic flow at peak times.

• Stage Six: Sanral to implement the recommendations of the Road Safety Audit, Visual Pavement Assessment and Traffic Capacity Study to make the alternative route as safe as possible for all road users.

Tarr said it is estimated that the necessary work to maintain, upgrade and repair the full length of the alternative route would cost in the region of R5 million to R10 million. Comment from the agency was not received at the time of going to print. 

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