A total of 32 roadworks engineering projects with a combined value of R2,2-billion for 2015 are currently taking place on the national road network in the Eastern Cape which will help prepare the region for integrated growth and development. So says Nazir Alli, CEO of the South African National Roads Agency Ltd (SANRAL).
Speaking during a public lecture at Walter Sisulu University in East London, Alli underscored SANRAL’s commitment to the region through road infrastructure programmes on behalf of regional and provincial government for local communities, road users and the private sector.
The programmes will benefit local and regional economies by laying the foundation to further improve the attractiveness of the region for foreign and direct investment, create safer and sufficient walkway and road-crossing infrastructure for pedestrians and improve road surface and safety conditions for motorists.
New data released by SANRAL Southern Region shows that 1 070 km – or 23% of the national road network of 4 544 km in the Eastern Cape – is being upgraded, preserved or rehabilitated and that the whole 4 544 km is being maintained throughout the year. The Eastern Cape has the most national roads out of all provinces,
As part of its 2015 road infrastructure programme for provincial and regional government, SANRAL is busy on the N2, N6, R61, R63, R65 and R67 with projects worth:
- R750-million for periodic maintenance covering 600 kilometres of the national road network.
- R372-million for special maintenance over a distance of 208 kilometres.
- R460-million for rehabilitation of the national road network covering 122 kilometres.
- R648-million is for special upgrading projects on 140 kilometres of the national road in the province.
Alli said that SANRAL road infrastructure development programmes are supporting the goals of the country’s National Development Plan and stressed that world-class road for the Eastern Cape will also address poverty, unemployment, income equality, while supporting the broader goals of national and regional development, transformation and empowerment.
New statistics released by SANRAL Southern Region also shows the value of conventional engineering and routine road maintenance contracts awarded to 625 SMMEs between April 2014 and March 2015 to be at R805-million – and 69.76% of beneficiaries were black-owned companies.
The latest SANRAL project, which kicked off this week in the Eastern Cape, is the special maintenance of a 28-kilometre stretch of the N2 road between Bramlin Interchange and the Coega IDZ in Port Elizabeth. The project entails resurfacing, drainage improvements and localised repairs of existing pavement failures over 18 month period.
Towards the interior between Engobo and Port St. Johns, the R61 road development and upgrading project is preparing the region for socio-economic projects such as the proposed Wild Coast special economic zone (SEZ). New roads will also stimulate tourism to a pristine but underdeveloped coastal region along South Africa’s Indian Ocean coast.
SANRAL projects here will also improve safety of pedestrians through several special walkways, pedestrian bridges and to protect the assets of rural livestock farmers and to reduce motor vehicle accidents several agricultural underpass culverts are being constructed.
“We are also proud of innovative community programmes that run parallel to conventional road engineering projects,” says Mbulelo Peterson, SANRAL Southern Region Manager. “These developmental programmes have been designed carefully, taking the needs of communities in the region into consideration.
Peterson says that this year, SANRAL will spend R179-million on community development projects in the Eastern Cape.