Newly upgraded R487 Million N1/Old Oak project set to ease city congestion
It is a great honour to be here today to mark the completion of this long-awaited N1/Old Oak Bridge upgrade project which has spanned three years, using a R487 million investment in roads infrastructure by the Department of Transport and Public Works.
When this project commenced in February 2016, we boldly set out to add an extra lane to parts of the N1 that previously had two lanes, thereby contributing significantly to decreased levels of congestion on one of the City’s busier roads.
Work was carried out over the 9 km stretch of the N1, from Plattekloof Road to just beyond the Old Oak interchange. This stretch of the N1 has been known to experience severe levels of congestion at both morning and afternoon peak periods, with approximately 120 000 vehicles being carried every day. Traffic volumes along the route in 2013 ranged from 76 500 AADT (Annual Average Daily Traffic) between Old Oak and R300 to 120 000 AADT between Jip de Jager and Durban Road, a high percentage of which are heavy commercial vehicles serving the Port and industrial areas of Cape Town.
The congestion on the route has in the past led to extended commuter peak hour traffic durations of up to 4 hours, which in turn has started to impact on the commercial and business traffic flows.
With the project now completed, motorists can expect a smoother flow of traffic on both the inbound and the outbound lanes.
The scope of the work spanning four phases included:
- additional lanes on the carriageways of the freeway to improve traffic safety and capacity,
- new auxiliary lanes to improve weaving conditions,
- extension of the existing concrete median barrier to prevent head-on collisions,
- intersection improvements at various parts of the freeway,
- demolition and reconstruction of the Old Oak West bridge and repairs to other bridges along the freeway.
The project also included works to the existing water pipeline in the middle of the freeway.
Our dedicated team, in partnership with local authorities, made every effort to ensure minimal disruption to traffic during the construction phase of the project, with periodic road closures being necessary at different stages. Working hours were also restricted to periods outside of both the morning and the afternoon peak times of 6am to 9am inbound, and 3pm to 7pm outbound.
One of the highlights of the project has been the Emerging Contractor Development Programme, which is part of the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP), and its facilitation of skills development and the promotion of business sustainability for emerging contractors in the construction industry. A total of 4 % (R12.68 million) was spent on this programme.
Beneficiaries included contractors with a CIDB Grading of 3CE -5CE (Civil Engineering), particularly youth and women. A total of R41.6 million was committed to Black Business Enterprises, and a total of 33 600 person days set aside for labour sourced from the local area, with a total of 39 247 achieved at the completion of the project.
The contractor has also employed 6 National Youth Service (NYS) learners as part of the project. These learners will receive invaluable practical training, mentorship, and skills for the six-month period that they will be employed.
Roads remain an integral and essential part of the wider transport system. A country’s road network should be efficient in order to maximise economic and social benefits, and improve access to economic opportunities. This knowledge is what pushes the Department of Transport and Public Works to continue to invest in constructing and maintaining our road network, an asset valued at billions of rands. In this financial year, we have set aside R3.66 billion for transport infrastructure that will see more upgrade and maintenance projects being undertaken.
The N1 is undoubtedly one of the more important roads, particularly for this region, and improving travel times and easing congestion on this road remains an imperative. As a department and the Western Cape Government, we will continue to invest in road planning, construction, rehabilitation, and maintenance, particularly on roads of economic importance.
I should like to extend my sincere congratulations and job-well-done to all who have played a part in this projects successful completion.
I thank you.