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The South African National Roads Agency and the Department of Transport have begun implementing the N3 road project, which falls within the uMgungundlovu District Municipality, Mkhambathini Local Municipality and eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality in the KwaZulu-Natal Province.
According to the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI), the project will see much-needed road expansion and upgrades to the N3 between Cato Ridge and Dardanelles and the N3 between Dardanelles and Lynnfield.
The value of the upgrades to the two sections amounts to over R3.2billion.
The DPWI says that since the start of the construction phase earlier this year, around 485 jobs have been created already, with hundreds of more jobs to be generated over the entire construction phase.
The department adds that the project has also brought significant benefits to local SMMEs, helping create economic opportunities for companies and employees. Therefore, the DPWI points out, “The N3 is integral to the economic growth of South Africa. A growing South African population has placed this strategic corridor under severe pressure, requiring substantial upgrading to portions of the corridor. This corridor, also referred to as the Durban-Free State-Gauteng Corridor, is a key infrastructure development project.”
With that mouthful in mind, the project entails upgrading the existing 4-lane dual carriageway to an 8-lane dual carriageway by widening to the median and outer shoulders over a distance of 6.4km. A road-over-rail bridge will also be extended to accommodate the widening of the N3.
Moreover, the upgrade promises to increase safety and significantly improve service levels for years to come. In addition to this, the DPWI highlights, “The direct economic benefits of the upgrades are a reduction in travel times, a reduction in vehicle operating costs and a reduction in accidents costs, all of which have great benefit to the economy at large. There are also indirect economic benefits that will accrue to the local areas.”
The upgrade to the N3 is further expected to alleviate congestion on roads around the port and the crucial N3 corridor linking the port of Durban to Gauteng. The enhancements to the roads will also shorten turnaround times for freight-carrying vehicles.
The project has brought to life the objectives of the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan (ERRP) announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa in October 2020, which is aimed at assisting industries to recover from the tough economic climate, seeing all sectors working together to help build South Africa.
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