Road conesThe R980 million upgrade of the N2 between Grahamstown and the Fish River Pass in the Eastern Cape is progressing well as phase two of the road infrastructure project continues.

The second phase of the upgrade project, which is valued at R283 million, began in June 2017 and is located within the boundaries of the Makana Local Municipality, in the Sarah Baartman District Municipality.

Work currently underway on this section of the upgrade includes the establishment of a hard rock quarry, crushing facilities for materials, mass earthworks, the construction of new pavement layers, resurfacing of the road surface, and the construction of three agricultural underpasses.

Improving quality and safety

The six to seven-year project, which has been divided into three phases, forms part of a long-term strategy to improve the quality of the roads between Port Elizabeth and King Williams Town according to the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral).

“This upgrade includes various geometric improvements over a mountainous terrain.  It will improve safety and offer safe overtaking opportunities. Once completed, the new road will also ensure travel-time savings for vehicle operators,” said Mbulelo Peterson, Sanral Southern Region Manager.

Sanral noted that an increase in traffic volumes, particularly of heavy vehicles, over the past 10 years, prompted the need for this road upgrade.

Furthermore, the existing road, which was built in the 1960s, did not meet the road agency’s desired alignment and safety standards.

“The project will improve and prepare the N2 to support increasing volumes of motorists on this national road over the next 25 years and will also improve safety and travel time on the national road network that provides the economic link between Port Elizabeth and East London, and which also serves as the west-east link between the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal,” Peterson concluded.