Sanral welcomes passing of transport amendment bill

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Pretoria - The South African National Road Agency Limited (Sanral) has welcomed the passing of the Transport and Related Matters Amendment Bill by the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), which amends the Sanral Act. 

This allows the Transport Minister Ben Martins to make regulations regarding e-tolling. Martins addressed the NCOP about the bill on Wednesday. 

Sanral CEO Nazir Alli said: “We welcome the unemotional decision made by the NCOP yesterday. This bill enhances the legislative framework for the implementation of projects with electronic tolling, and will assist in improving the effectiveness of toll operations and enforcement.

“Users of Gauteng’s e-roads have already reaped the rewards of the improvements and will continue to do so. This system will benefit the economy and not hinder it.” 

The bill has been necessitated by the development of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) as well as the future plans for the development of road infrastructure in the Republic. 

Addressing the NCOP, Martins said traffic volumes on Gauteng freeways were increasing steadily, before improvements as a result of the e-toll project. 

“Traffic volumes on the Gauteng freeways increased from 27 percent to 42 percent for different freeway sections, since 2006. 

On the N1 between the Allandale interchange and Buccleuch interchange, morning peak hour traffic increased from 9 000 vehicles in 2008 to 13 000 vehicles in 2013,” he said.

An independent survey carried out by a company providing navigation services showed that the improvements have led to a 50 percent reduction in travel times on the N1 between Johannesburg and Tshwane in peak hours.

A study conducted by the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry showed that the loss to the economy due to congestion was in the order of R10 million per hour. 

The electronic toll collection system, popularly known as e-toll, is a mechanism for the collection of tolls without disturbing the flow of traffic. 

This system is already in use in the east of Pretoria on the Platinum toll highway and is programmed to also be implemented at other existing toll plazas. 

Funding the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project through a user charge has enabled the upgrading of some 201 kilometres of roads that would otherwise have taken in excess of 12 years to fund with the concomitant loss of opportunity.

 “Furthermore, it also ensures that funds for future maintenance and operations are available. Without this project, traffic in the province would have been in gridlock by now,” said Minister Martins. - SAnews.gov.za

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