Major R487 million N1 upgrade project to ease congestion in the city
Statement by Donald Grant, Minister of Transport and Public Works
The Department of Transport and Public Works has begun Phase 1 of the much needed N1 upgrade. This is a three year project that commenced on 4 February 2016, and expected to be completed in February 2019. Once completed, this R487 million project will include the addition of an extra lane to parts that previously had two lanes, thereby contributing significantly to decreased levels of congestion on one of the City’s busier roads.
Work will be 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 is known to experience severe levels of congestion at both morning and afternoon peak periods, with approximately 120 000 vehicles being carried every day. Once the project is completed, traffic is expected to flow much more easily, on both the inbound and the outbound lanes.
The scope of the work spanning four phases will include:
- 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 will also include works to the existing water pipeline in the middle of the freeway.
All efforts will be made to ensure minimal disruption to traffic during the construction phase of the project. However, motorists must expect reduced lane widths and general speed limits in areas where works are taking place. Working hours have also been restricted to periods outside of both the morning and the afternoon peak times of 6am to 9am inbound, and 3pm to 7pm outbound.
The contractor will be erecting movable concrete barriers on the edge of all working areas, as well as temporary gantries to depict height restrictions ahead of the bridge construction. There will be no long duration work carried out simultaneously on both sides of the carriageways, roadway, ramp, nor at both terminals of the same interchange. Traffic lane closures will be limited to one lane closure during short duration work. Traffic will be diverted accordingly when necessary, and information communicated timeously. This is to ensure that traffic flow is only marginally impeded at any stage of the construction.
Emerging Contractor Development Programme
The Emerging Contractor Development Programme is part of the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP), and aims to develop skills and promote business sustainability for emerging contractors in the construction industry. Beneficiaries include contractors with a CIDB Grading of 1-5 particularly youth and women. This project forms part of this project, with R8 million dedicated to qualifying contractors for specific elements of the project. There is a total of R24 million committed to Black Business Enterprises, and a total of 29 000 person days set aside for labour sourced from the local area. 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. 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. We will continue to invest in road planning, construction, rehabilitation, and maintenance, particularly on roads of economic importance.