The South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) has advised motorists to expected traffic delays during the construction or road upgrades on the N3 and N2, urging motorists to allow for additional time when travelling on these roads.
The major road upgrades are under way on the N3 between the Cato Ridge and Ashburton interchanges and on the N2 between Lovu River and Umdloti, in the Eastern Cape. The Durban to Pietermaritzburg stretch of the N3 is also being upgraded.
Sanral said that these upgrades, which form part of the greater N2/N3 corridor upgrades, would ease traffic congestion and increase safety once complete.
The three packages, Cato Ridge to Dardanelles (commonly known as Umlaas Road) Interchange, Dardanelles Interchange to Lynnfield Park, and Lynnfield Park to Ashburton Interchange, will take on average 42 months each to complete. Contracts were awarded in 2020 and construction began in early 2021.
“Work on Dardanelles to Lynnfield started in January, while Cato Ridge to Dardanelles and Lynnfield Park to Ashburton began in April. These upgrades will include the widening of the N3 carriageways to four or five lanes in each direction, and the reconfiguration and upgrade of most major interchanges along these route sections,” said Sanral Eastern regional manager Dumisani Nkabinde.
“While Sanral aims to maintain the same number of lanes during construction as currently available, this is not possible at all locations. Motorists will be affected by reduced speed limits which are necessary to maintain the safety of the construction team as well as motorists. Traffic deviations to alternative routes are only expected during emergency situations, for example when a major crash results in closure of the N3. Stop/go restrictions may be carried out on alternative routes and within the interchange areas but will not be carried out on the N3.”
The R103 provincial road, which runs next to the N3, will also be upgraded between the outer limits of the contract and can be used as an alternative route for light vehicles. Heavy motor vehicles are encouraged to remain on the N3 owing to sharp bends and steep gradients on some sections of the R103, said Nkabinde.
“A new section of R103 will be constructed alongside the N3 on the southern side between Camperdown Interchange in the west and the existing R103 in the east. The new section is required to improve traffic flow along the R103 by removal of the multiple stop streets within Camperdown,” he explained.
Motorists are advised to take note of the construction activities and to be observant of the advance warning signs, and restrictions, when travelling past the construction work zones.
The upgrades of the N2 and N3 in KwaZulu-Natal form part of the national government’s key Strategic Integrated Projects 2: Durban-Free State-Gauteng Logistics and Industrial Corridor, which aims to strengthen the logistics and transport corridor between South Africa’s main industrial hubs, improve access to Durban’s export and import facilities and raise efficiency along the corridor.
The greater N2/N3 corridor upgrades are expected to take between eight to ten years to complete in total and create up to 15 000 job opportunities over the duration of the construction. Investment in roads infrastructure upgrades, especially in rural and underdeveloped communities, provides an opportunity for generating economic growth, alleviating poverty, reducing inequality and increasing international competitiveness.