Minister inspects Eastern Cape road infrastructure projects

Friday, October 28, 2022

Government continues to demonstrate its commitment towards delivering a transport system that is safe, affordable, efficient, reliable and responsive to the needs of the citizenry, says Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula.

The Minister said this as he undertook an oversight inspection to some of the critical projects undertaken by the South African National Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL) in the Eastern Cape on Thursday.

"Significant investments in road infrastructure not only sustain economic activity but also enables access to social infrastructure and amenities. The upgrading of the national route R336 between Kirkwood and Addo, a project that we are inspecting today, bears testimony to the hard work that SANRAL plays in ensuring that our road infrastructure fulfils its economic and social functions.

“The first phase of this project entails the upgrading of 13.75km of the National Route R336 between Kirkwood and Addo, and the reseal of 1.75km of the existing road east of the town of Kirkwood,” Mbalula said.

Construction started in September this year and the anticipated completion date is June in 2024.

“The rehabilitation measures vary along the length of the route depending on the condition and width of the existing road. It is important to note that safety issues such as speed limits, pedestrian sidewalks, and traffic calming forms part of the upgrade.

“Furthermore, the existing pavement structure has reached the end of its design life and has deteriorated to a level of service which is inadequate to withstand the traffic loading,” the Minister said.

The Sundays River Bridge will be widened on the left-hand side to accommodate a new pedestrian walkway.

SANRAL has other projects under construction in the Sundays River Valley Local Municipality. These entail the special maintenance of a section of the National Route R335 and a section of R342 from Zuurberg Intersection to Nguni River Lodge.

“The special maintenance of another section of the National Route R342 from Nguni River Lodge to Paterson and the special maintenance of a section of the National Route R75 from Kirkwood Intersection to Wolwefontein,” the Minister said.

The project will create jobs for about 125 to 175 people with about 20 Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) appointed. Fourteen of the projects are already on site.

“Through its Horizon 2030 Strategy, SANRAL continues to play an important role in improving the socio-economic conditions of those communities that live alongside its national roads network.

“The SANRAL Horizon 2030 Strategy is a pro-active response to deliver on SANRAL’s vision of a national transport system that makes a meaningful contribution to the realisation of a better life for all,” he said.

The Minister said the national road network plays a pivotal role in stimulating economic activity and ensuring tourism continues to play an important role in growing the economy.

“Both Kirkwood and Addo are great tourism hubs. The main roads to both towns also link with the national roads and ports in the Nelson Mandela Metro.

“Kirkwood is situated in the heart of the Sundays River Valley, considered the citrus capital of the Eastern Cape. It is the centre of one of the largest citrus regions in South Africa,” Mbalula said.

It is known for its citrus fruit, roses, game farms and its annual Wildlife Festival.

Addo is a small town but is synonymous with the Addo Elephant National Park. The town is about an hour’s drive away from Gqeberha. The town also offers great features to it that is independent to the famed and magnificent elephants.

The Minister said the role of infrastructure is critical in giving traction to government’s efforts to tackle the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality. –