13 January 2015
The N3 Toll Concession (N3TC) is investing more than R1-billion to expand the N3 toll route over next three years, the company has said.
The N3, between South Africa’s inland provinces and Durban, is one the country’s most strategic freight and logistics corridors. N3TC manages a portion of the road, between the Cedara interchange near Hilton, in KwaZulu-Natal, and the Heidelberg South interchange in Gauteng.
Work on a R444-million rehabilitation project between Mooi River and Estcourt began in 2013, and will be completed towards the end of 2015. The left lane – or truck lane – is being rehabilitated and the project includes a new asphalt pavement surface to all lanes on this section.
In addition, a 60km section between Harrismith and Warden will be reconstructed at a cost of R413-million, with working beginning this month. The existing road surface in both directions will be reconstructed and will receive a new asphalt overlay.
Roadmac Surfacing will do the reconstruction; SNA Consulting Engineers designed the project and will oversee its execution. It is expected to be completed by April 2017.
N3TC says it is “acutely aware” of the disruption that road construction may cause to the free flow of traffic. To minimise inconvenience to road users, the company has agreed to limit single lane closures in either direction to 3km sections at a time.
“There will, at all times, be at least one lane open to traffic to regulate the flow of traffic while construction is under way,” says N3TC’s technical manager, Douglas Judd. “Therefore, no undue delays are anticipated.
“Traffic will be accommodated contra-flow in the lanes where construction is not under way at a specific time. This will allow for a safe working space for contract workers.”
N3TC says the time frames of the road works programme have been planned to ensure that all four lanes are open to traffic at peak times such as Easter and long weekends.
Finally, the most complex of the three construction projects – over 14 kilometres from Cedara to Tweedie near Howick – will begin in August. This R400-million expansion project should be completed within 24 months.
Two additional traffic lanes, one in each direction, will be constructed in the existing median to increase the route’s capacity in this high traffic zone. The Umgeni River Bridge will also be expanded.
“N3TC is implementing this expansion well in advance of its actual capacity requirement in order to minimise the impact on heavier traffic in later years,” says Judd.
A traffic management programme will be in place to minimise disruption and inconvenience to road users, with construction taking place in the median.
This multimillion-rand investment will be funded by N3TC with no additional tolling required.
It is part of a tightly managed rehabilitation and expansion programme on the route, the company says. As a result of high traffic volumes, this programme typically follows an eight-year cycle.
“We are committed to ensuring additional road capacity is added before traffic volumes increase to a level which may negatively impact on the safety, convenience and mobility of N3 toll route users,” adds Judd.