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Massive developments are underway within Northern KwaZulu-Natal borders thanks to a sizeable cash injection from the Provincial Government.
This follows the KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Transport, Community Safety, and Liaison, Sipho Hlomuka officially launching two multi-million Rand projects under uThukela District aimed at improving tourism and the district economy.
On Saturday, 10 September 2022, MEC Hlomuka got things started, handing over the two major projects— the R74 in Bergville and the iNkunzi River Bridge in Ladysmith. The two developments will be reconstructed at a combined value of more than R27 million.
According to the Department, these two projects will improve the movement of people in the district and will help grow the economy by opening trade, tourism, and the movement of goods between provinces and local businesses.
Furthermore, the department highlighted that the R74 was damaged by floods, which resulted in the Armco pipe being washed away. This caused failures on the road forcing the road to be reduced to one lane.
It should be noted that the R74 in Bergville is a strategic road, as it provides an alternative route to the N3, linking KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State.
“The road is also important for tourism development in the Drakensberg area and provides a link to local schools and businesses. The road is also important in transporting agricultural produce,” said the Department.
In addition, the INkunzi River Bridge links the community of eNkunzi to Main Road D2404. The road also links Ladysmith with Dundee and the bridge provides a link to many amenities such as schools. This, while providing a safe crossing for community members.
Nonetheless, on the day, the MEC was accompanied by numerous leaders from various municipalities. In attendance were Okhahlamba (Bergville) Local Municipality, Alfred Duma (Ladysmith) Municipality, uThukela District Municipality, and Inkosi Sithole, the Deputy Chairperson of the KZN House of Traditional Leaders.
Commenting during the handing over of the two projects, MEC Hlomuka, committed the Department of Transport to remedy all halted infrastructural in the province.
“These two projects are important to the people of uThukela District in different ways. R74 is significant for the tourism and economic growth. Equally, iNkunzi vehicle bridge will provide safe crossing to the local community. The investment of more than R27 million will go a long way towards the creation of jobs, mainly to young people and women. Emerging contractors will also benefit from these two projects. As the Department we remain committed in prioritizing infrastructure delivery and we continue to roll-out strategic infrastructure projects as part of rebuilding the province after the devastating floods,” said Hlomuka.
The Department further committed to assessing all bridges built using Armco pipes to improve them and avert more damage during heavy rains.
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