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N2 Wild Coast Toll Road discussed during Minister's visit to Bhisho

Aug 18, 2017
N2 Wild Coast Toll Road discussed during Minister's visit to Bhisho

Eastern Cape Premier, Phumulo Masualle, on Thursday had a working visit from the Minister of Transport, Joe Maswangayi, where they held discussions about the N2 Wild Coast Toll Road Development Project, the transport sector as well as infrastructure development in the province.

The Provincial Government is prioritising major road infrastructure building programs as well as linking small-town economic centres across the province and beyond as being a critical requirement to attracting private investment into the local economy.

Once completed, the N2 Wild Coast Toll Road is expected to cut and reduce travel time between East London and Durban by three hours, linking the two provinces with much ease, boost tourism and will reduce the cost of doing business. This project will also see the building of two of the highest and biggest bridges in the continent.

"Today, I met with the Eastern Cape Premier Mr Phumulo Masualle, MEC for Roads and Public Works Ms Thandiswa Marawu and MEC for Transport Weziwe Tikana to give them an update about the N2 Wild Coast Project," Minister Maswangayi told reporters. 

"As you may know, the N2 is a strategic route that traverses four provinces, namely, Western Cape, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu Natal and Mpumalanga. As government we are aware that an investment in this road can have major socio economic benefits for these provinces."

He said that the working visit was meant to discuss the N2 as it relates to the Eastern Cape.

"Known as the N2 Wild Coast Project, this is one of the eighteen (18) Strategic Integrated Project (SIP 3) that was approved by Cabinet.

"In the Eastern Cape, the N2 Wild Coast stretch from East London to the Eastern Cape boarder. Of the total length, some 112 km would be on a new 'greenfields' alignment between the Ndwalane (near Port St Johns) and the Mtamvuna River (near Port Edward)," the Minister said.

"The road will include two mega-bridge structures on the Msikaba and Mtentu Rivers, seven additional major river bridges and five interchange bridges.

"The remainder of the project comprises the upgrading of the existing roads, mainly the R61 already underway and the future construction of ring roads at Mthatha, Idutwya and Butterworth."

Maswangayi said that once complete, the route will be approximately 85 km shorter than the current N2 alignment from Mthatha to PortShepstone and will be up to three hours faster, particularly for heavy freight vehicles.

"Ladies and gentlemen, we see the N2 Wild Coast as not only a road project but catalyst for other developments. 

"Economically, the project will result in significantly faster delivery times and lower transportation costs in terms of freight. It will improve mobility and connectivity between provinces and towns within and between provinces," the Minister added.

"The Wild Coast has a lot of tourism potential and this project will improve access, mobility and attractiveness for tourists. Also, it will open up the provinces agricultural potential by improving access to markets through an improved road.

"In terms of Local Economic Development, the project will yield significant Local SMME/business opportunities, both directly and indirectly."

He said that SANRAL will ensure that local SMMEs have a significant involvement in the project through the following measures:

  • Upfront training of local SMMEs (already underway);
  • A minimum 30% CPG goal for all road infrastructure projects including sub allocations for various levels of contractors linked to local target areas as well as local suppliers of goods and services;
  • Unbundling of a minimum of 14 grade 4-7 CE and GB contracts for relocation of affected households and the construction of local access roads;
  • Training and development of SMMEs and labour during construction;
  • The development of local hard rock quarries and sand mines;
  • The implementation of various community development projects; and;
  • The use of Targeted Enterprises for 20%-30% of the consultants design work + additional opportunities for local professionals

"The positive economic impact will be felt by places such as Port St Johns, Lusikisiki and Mzamba, as well as towns such as Flagstaff, Bizana and Holy Cross. The mandate given to SANRAL is to ensure that locals benefit from both jobs and business opportunities," the Minister said.

"Ladies and Gentlemen, a road is not just a road. It links communities to other social services provided by government and this road will certainly improve access to health care, education and other social services.

"The budget for the upgrading of the existing N2 and R61 portions of the N2 Wild Coast project has since 2011 been funded from the SANRAL non-toll budget. The total budget required for the N2 Wild Coast Road greenfields portion is approximately R8.5 – 9.0 billion."

Maswangayi said that funding for the two bridges has already been made available through the Department of Transport.

"The Ministry will be making an announcement as soon as I have completed my interaction with the SANRAL Board in this regard," he said.

"In conclusion, I take this opportunity to thank the Premier, the Eastern Cape Provincial Government, the PICC, Political Oversight Committee, Mayors and affected Districts and Municipalities, Traditional Leaders, Business Chambers and the affected Communities for the support and enthusiasm that they have shown for this project thus far.

"As we roll it out, we are hopeful that the same spirit of collaboration and cooperation will continue."