The first sod was turned for a R60 million interchange for the R300/Bottelary Road between Brackenfell and Kuils River on Thursday March 10, and, while it is scheduled to be completed by mid-2017, for commuters it couldn’t come soon enough.
In the past few years, Kuils River residents who make the journey daily to work and back, have been plagued by traffic that crawls at a snail’s pace.
It has a lot to do with the fact that Cape Town is bursting at its seams.
According to Mayor Patricia de Lille, Cape Town is not only the fastest growing city in South Africa but the most congested as more and more people come to seek opportunities and invest in its growing infrastructure.
And according to Ward 3 councillor Brendan van der Merwe, who was at the sod-turning ceremony, the interchange will bring “much-needed relief for commuters”.
Donald Grant, MEC for Transport and Public Works, said part of the solution to the congestion was looking at the “choke points of which this was a major one”.
He told Northern News the congestion on two of the city’s most important arterials is also aimed at alleviating the bottlenecks as motorists slowly make their way to the N1 and the N2 and to create a flow through the city.
“It’s not the end of the story, however, we have to view this as a holistic project.”
To this end, as part of the Congestion Relief Programme, the City last year committed R40 million towards various roads projects to address congestion this financial year.
A further R750 million has since been committed, to be spent over five years on various new roads and upgrades, including the new interchange.
“Councillors have to face tremendous criticism over the traffic,” said Ms De Lille.
“If you’re sitting bumper-to-bumper, you have to blame someone.”
But, she added, despite the commitment to construct new roads, “we are enticing people to get out of their cars and onto public transport, wherever they can.
“We also need to close all those open spaces where apartheid was and get people to live closer to their employment.”
While construction has started, the new interchange will eventually provide a more rapid connection for motorists from Bottelary Road onto the R300 to the N1, via two new lanes on either side of the new interchange.
Traffic from Van Riebeeck Road in Kuils River will have an easier alternative via these new ramps.
The City will contribute 52 percent of the construction cost (R31 million) and provincial government 48 percent (R29 million). The South African National Roads Agency (SANRAL) has purchased the land required for the new interchange and the national roads agency will be responsible for the maintenance after construction is completed.
Kuils River resident Brandon Burg, whom Northern News spoke to last year (“Plans to ease congestion,” Northern News, November 25 2015) said while he is relieved that the project is under way, it’s a long time to wait with many hours spent in the traffic.
“I really hope they finish it on time and that meanwhile we’ll have some relief from the sluggish commute.
“My journey to work in Bellville could take half the time when this all comes to fruition.”
Marjory De Wit, who travels on Amandel Road to get to work and struggled last year when that road was being fixed, commented: “It’s great news that this is happening, particularly for those who need to get onto to the N1 to head to town.” But like Mr Burg, she added that mid-2017, “was a long way away”.
Sanral project manager, Renaldo Lorio, said aside from the major benefit addressing the congestion in the Brackenfell and Kuils River areas, “another benefit would be the development of an industrial area, resulting in the creation of permanent jobs and a boost to economic growth in the area”.
Other congestion alleviation projects in Kuils River and surrounding areas include:
* The widening of Amandel Road: R18 million – completed
* Saxdowne Road: R32.5 million – under construction
* Erica Drive: R70 million – consultant procurement phase
* Belhar Main Road: R17.5 million – contractor procurement phase
* Van Riebeeck/Strand Street widening: R8.5 million – detail design phase.