Upgrades to the Huguenot Tunnel are well under way, with no major spike in traffic volumes in the Du Toits Kloof Pass during the night-time closures, the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) reports.
The pass is currently closed from 22:00 to 06:00 on Mondays to Thursdays to allow for work to be done on the tunnel.
The potential increase of heavy vehicles going over the pass at night has always been a concern, particularly as incident response in the narrow pass posed multiple challenges and would cause significant delays and congestion, which has a direct impact on the economy, Sanral notes.
“Traffic monitoring reports, however, show a slight decrease in the amount of traffic – both heavy and light motor vehicles – going over the pass during the night-time closures, when compared with the period prior to the commencement of the tunnel closures.
This could either indicate that road users have adjusted their travel time or taken an alternative route. Either way, it means our proactive communications are reaching the targeted audiences,” says Sanral project manager Mike Vinello-Lippert.
With regard to the current maintenance operations, the asphalt overlay of the Eastern Approach road is 85% complete and all indications are that the construction works will be completed on schedule by September 30.
The replacement of continuous strip lights, adaptation luminaires at the portals and the lighting control system are also making steady progress, Sanral says.
Old fluorescent and high-pressure sodium luminaires are being replaced with more energy efficient light-emitting-diode fittings, while additional adaptation luminaires are installed at both portals to ensure compliance with international best practice for the entrance zone lighting.
With the night-time closures, Sanral says, it has also taken the opportunity to replace the outdated existing fire detection systems in the Huguenot Tunnel with modern systems that comply with local and international standards and best practice.
The works include the detail design, manufacture, supply, delivery, installation, testing and commissioning of the tunnel fire detection systems.
Sanral reminds road users of the variety of alternative routes which include Paarl – DuToit’s Kloof Pass – Worcester; Paarl - Gouda - Tulbagh – Worcester; and Wellington – Tulbagh – Ceres.
Depending on origin and destination, the N2 Grabouw to Villiersdorp is also an option should travel on a Monday to Thursday between 22:00 and 06:00 be required.