Minister of Transport Dipuo Peters has opened the Ballito Interchange on the N2 in KwaZulu-Natal. The major intersection has been hailed as a boon to motorists and commuters for eliminating traffic congestion and long delays
The R123 million Ballito Interchange project is one of several of SANRAL’s major projects to enhance the national roads network in KwaZulu-Natal and was initiated to expand capacity for traffic where the MR445 crosses the N2.
The high congestion at peak times pointed to the need for improvements to be effected to the interchange to adequately provide for current traffic demands as well as future traffic demand generated by the proposed developments surrounding the Ballito area.
The interchange attracts 20 000 vehicles from the north during weekdays and 14 000 on weekends. A further 29 000 vehicles from the south make use of the interchange during the week and 20 000 over weekends.
The improvements to the interchange have resulted in a reduction in travel times with a substantial reduction in traffic congestion on the N2 and MR445 during peak hours. The upgrade of this interchange has significantly improved safety for pedestrians and motorists and also meets future demand owing to increased traffic volumes.
KZN a key stakeholder
SANRAL regards KwaZulu-Natal Province as a key stakeholder and billions of Rands are being poured into major roads infrastructure throughout the length and breadth of KwaZulu-Natal by SANRAL.
The province’s landscape is being progressively reshaped with current and pipeline projects worth more than R23 billion that will redefine the safety and convenience aspects of road transport infrastructure.
There is construction work totalling R8.3 billion to take place over the next three years, including R1.4 billion to be spent widening the road from Mtunzini to Empangeni on the N2 and to build interchanges at Eteza and Kwabhoboza. R15 billion has been earmarked for the upgrading of the N3 from Durban to Cedara outside Pietermaritzburg.
Major upgrading and realignment of the N3 between Durban and Pietermaritzburg which is located within the Primary Growth Corridor identified in terms of the Provincial Spatial Economic Development Strategy, will ensure capacity meets future demands.
Peters used the occasion to express concern about the high accident rate on South African roads and said the government had elevated the issue of road safety to become a national priority.
“I am becoming more and more concerned about the increasing number of roadside memorials that are popping up all along our national, provincial and municipal roads.
“While the plethora of crosses and wreaths bears testimony to the grief and love from the loved ones of the accident victims, apart from their personal significance, these memorials also point to a sorry state of affairs on our roads and this breaks my heart,” said Peters.
“South Africa has a road death toll of 23.5 per 100 000 of the population, way above the global average. Most fatal crashes in South Africa involve young men – and speed and alcohol are largely to blame.
“This is disturbing as any situation resulting in unnecessary death on the roads is intolerable. Thousands of families have been left numbed – and hungry – because of the senseless loss of precious lives on our roads.”
Ms Peters said the Department of Transport has put policies in place, made changes to legislation and regulations, empowered traffic law enforcement officials and allocated more resources to government agencies such as SANRAL to introduce engineering solutions that will lead to safer road environments.
“We are learning from global experiences and are following the ‘safe systems’ approach to road safety as adopted by the United Nations during this period, which is called the “Decade of Action” to bring down the accident rates on our roads.”