Minister Grant officially opens R207 million N2 upgrade project
Statement by Donald Grant, Minister of Transport and Public Works
It is an honour to be here today to mark the completion of this much anticipated roads mega-project that has spanned almost 24 months. The R 207 million N2 Borcherds Quarry project is a rehabilitation project of an approximately 8.1km portion of the N2 between Borcherds Quarry Road and the R300. The project consisted of:
- The rehabilitation of existing lanes,
- Construction of an additional third inbound and outbound lane,
- Construction of new on and off-ramps,
- Widening of the Borcherds Quarry bridge.
Together with wider lanes to improve accessibility on the N2, the project also included the installation of better street lighting in an effort to improve road safety.
This N2/Borcherds Quarry upgrade project, which has been years in the making and is part of our ongoing efforts to tackle congestion, will go a long way in addressing the adverse effects that ever-increasing traffic volumes and congestion continue to have on the economy of the region.
Opening up busy interchanges to an easier-flow of traffic is crucial to any City’s economic agenda. We have become painfully aware of the effect that congestion has had on commerce and productivity in Cape Town in particular, which is something that cannot be ignored.
As vehicle populations increase annually, it is our responsibility, as road authorities, to plan effectively for the future, and to initiate interventions that will respond to rapidly changing conditions in our roads networks.
The broader issue of congestion must continue to be a major consideration in our roads planning for the future. Rising traffic congestion is a condition that is broadly confined to our metropolitan cities and larger towns within the Province and require an integrated transport solution involving many role players in order to curb it.
According to the Tom Tom Index 2017 released last year, Cape Town is the most congested City in South Africa, followed by Johannesburg and then East London. The marked increase in traffic congestion within the City of Cape Town is partly the result of the failure of our rail system to act as the backbone of the public transport system.
Although the demand for greater mobility and population numbers have increased, the shift of commuters from rail to road cannot be denied. The Department and the Western Cape Government are working with the City of Cape Town in order to overcome these challenges, including determining the role PRASA and Metrorail should play within the delivery of an integrated transport system for the City of Cape Town.
The process to deal with those embedded challenges in rail remains contentious but the Department and the City of Cape Town are committed to resolving them for the benefit of commuters, as exhibited in resolutions taken at the recent Rail Summit hosted by the City.
This now completed N2/Borcherds Quarry rehabilitation project will provide better ride quality, improved safety, and increased visibility for the average 82 000 vehicles that travel on this section of the N2 every day, 3% being heavy vehicles.
The carrying capacity of the road will be improved with an extra lane added on each side. This will be of particular benefit to the high-capacity buses and taxis that carry commuters on this road as the right hand lane is already designated as a dedicated bus lane during peak travelling periods.
Worth noting too are the empowerment targets met as part of this project. Many people have benefited directly from the short-term employment and skills training opportunities that the project has delivered in its nearly two-year duration. Contract expenditure to date is R19,5-million for targeted enterprises, with about 22 300 person-days of work having been created for people residing in the City of Cape Town municipal area.
This project, as well as other currently underway and recently completed projects such as the N1 upgrades and the R300 Bottelary Interchange, forms a crucial part of our ongoing efforts, through all spheres of government, to not only deliver quality road infrastructure, but also to effectively address congestion in the City in particular.
Road infrastructure is an important factor for the productivity, safety, and future development of this country, and the Western Cape in particular. The work that we do in this regard must continue to reap benefits in perpetuity, and be at the center of this country’s economic ambitions.
As a department, we must continue to plan, construct, rehabilitate and maintain the provincial road network, as a valued and strategic asset of this government.
With the project having now been completed, I should like to thank the project team and contractors for their dedication and commitment to service delivery excellence, as well as our partners who have also worked tirelessly to ensure the project’s success.
My department will continue to dedicate resources to constructing, refurbishing, and maintaining roads that change the lives of our citizens for the better.
I thank you.