The Karino Interchange in Mbombela, Mpumalanga, is well under way to be completed in November, says Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula.
This interchange forms part of government’s road infrastructure projects which are delivered through the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral).
Trans African Concessions (Trac) is the concessionaire which manages the N4 Toll Route on behalf of Sanral.
Trac CEO Alex van Niekerk says the upgrading of the Karino intersection to an interchange is viewed as the next phase of the original Nelspruit Northern Ring Road project, completed in 2010.
The interchange is the most important link between Mbombela and Kanyamazane, and will provide a direct link from the R514 route to the N4 national road.
The R514 also provides access to the Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport.
The N4 and R514 intersection has become a nightmare in handling high traffic volumes, especially during peak hours, says Van Niekerk, while it has also became notorious for the severity of accidents over the years.
“In considering the strategic importance of this intersection, the number and growth in traffic turning volumes due to high commuter traffic and the traffic safety record, it was recommended that this intersection be upgraded to a grade separated interchange under the concession contract.”
Sanral Northern Region manager Progress Hlahla adds that local small, medium-sized and microenterprises (SMMEs) have benefitted from the project across various aspects of the value chain.
“Some SMMEs are currently employed at this phase of the project, and there will still be more opportunities for SMMEs to get involved as the project progresses.”
A total of 54 local subcontractors and more than 300 local community members are currently employed on site.
A portion of the expenditure that is incurred on the project has to be injected back into the affected communities.
The initial 6% targeted labour set at the tender phase has been exceeded to 7.19%, meaning that total expenditure on targeted labour is now more than R17-million, reports Trac.
This expenditure is allocated across women, youth, and people with disabilities.