THE R75 Section 1 rehabilitation and safety measurement improvements project, currently taking place between Port Elizabeth and Despatch, has reached its halfway mark.
This, according to the South African national Roads Agency (SOC) Ltd (SANRAL).
In a statement, SANRAL said the R316 million project is on one of Nelson Mandela Bayâ€™s primary arterial roads. The R75 connects some of the oldest suburbs and townships along the route and is a vital link between Port Elizabeth and the industrial areas of Uitenhage and Despatch.
SANRALâ€™s southern region manager, Mbulelo Peterson, said, â€œRoute R75 is one of the major National Roads within the Eastern Cape interior and is the primary arterial road for Algoa Park, Zwide, Zinyoka (Govan Mbeki), Veeplaas, Missionvale, New Brighton, KwaDwesi, KwaDwesi Extension, KwaMagxaki, Joe Slovo and Despatch, acting as the public transport link between both ends.â€? Peterson described how the poor road condition prior to the rehabilitation required constant patchwork repairs.
â€œPedestrian facility improvements are a major requirement of this project as pedestrian movements are largely uncontrolled and unsafe. In addition, this section of road has been recognised as having some of the highest pedestrian accident numbers in the Eastern Cape,â€? Peterson said.
According to the statement, the average daily traffic on this road ranges from between approximately 6 100 and 7 100 vehicles in the northbound direction, and an average of between 5 500 and 5 900 vehicles in the southbound direction.
â€œThe average percentage of heavy vehicles to make use of the road is around 8.5%.
â€œThis means that around 500 trucks use this road in each direction every day.
â€œCurrent construction is focused on rehabilitating the previously poor condition of the road surface as well as improving pedestrian safety, specifically for learners crossing the very busy route,â€? the statement read.
Owing to the nature of the safety improvements required, namely improvements to both the interchange and pedestrian bridge positions, and, in order to expedite construction, the project was subdivided into two phases:
. Phase 1, which is currently under construction, consists of road rehabilitation and minor safety measures to improve pedestrian mobility and safety along the R75 between residential and industrial areas. The phase 2 project will deal with the major safety improvements.
. Phase 2 will consist of an upgrade to the Commercial Road interchange and the construction of a pedestrian bridge. This phase is expected to be constructed in the next three years.
â€œThe scope of work for the project entails road rehabilitation works, drainage infrastructure and pedestrian safety and fencing and erecting guardrails. This two-year project should be completed in May next year,â€? the statement said.