THE major road upgrades between Cato Ridge and Ashburton interchange will ease traffic congestion and increase safety on that stretch of the N3 national road in KwaZulu-Natal, the South African National Roads Agency (SANRAL) has announced.
The three packages which form part of the greater N2/N3 corridor upgrades were awarded in the fourth quarter of 2020 and construction began in the first quarter of 2021. The upgrade of the N2 will focus on a 55km length, from Lovu River, on the South Coast, to Umdloti, on the North Coast. The N3 upgrade will focus on an 80km section from Durban to Pietermaritzburg.
The awarded projects are:
- Cato Ridge (km19.4) to Dardanelles (commonly known as Umlaas Road) Interchange (km26.6);
- Dardanelles Interchange (km26.6) to Lynnfield Park (km 30.6) and
- Lynnfield Park (km 30.6) to Ashburton Interchange (km 1.5)
The upgrades of the N2 and N3 in KwaZulu-Natal form part of the national Government’s key Strategic Integrated Projects, SIP2: Durban-Free State-Gauteng Logistics and Industrial Corridor. SIP2 aims to strengthen the logistics and transport corridor between South Africa’s main industrial hubs, improve access to Durban’s export and import facilities and raise efficiency along the corridor.
“Work on Dardanelles to Lynnfield started in January 2021, while Cato Ridge to Dardanelles and Lynnfield Park to Ashburton began in April 2021. These upgrades will include the widening of the N3
carriageways to four or five lanes in each direction, and the reconfiguration and upgrade of most major interchanges along these route sections,” said Dumisani Nkabinde, SANRAL’s Eastern Regional Manager.
The greater N2/N3 corridor upgrades are expected to take between eight to ten years to complete in total and create up to 15 000 job opportunities over the duration of the construction, he added.
The three awarded projects will take on average 42 months each to complete. Nkabinde said that while the agency aimed to maintain the same number of lanes during construction as currently available, this was not possible at all locations.
“Motorists will be affected by reduced speed limits which are necessary to maintain the safety of the construction team as well as motorists.”
Traffic deviations to alternative routes are only expected during emergency situations, for example when a major crash results in closure of the N3. Stop/go restrictions may be carried out on alternative routes and within the interchange areas but will not be carried out on the N3.
“The R103 provincial road, which runs next to the N3, will also be upgraded between the outer limits of the contract and can be used as an alternative route for light vehicles. Heavy motor vehicles are encouraged to remain on the N3, due to sharp bends and steep gradients on some sections of the R103,” he said.
“A new section of R103 will be constructed alongside the N3 on the southern side between Camperdown Interchange in the West and the existing R103 in the East. The new section is required to improve traffic flow along the R103 by removal of the multiple stop streets within Camperdown.”
Nkabinde advised motorists to take note of the construction activities and to be observant of the advance warning signs, and restrictions, when travelling past the construction work zones.
“Traffic delays should be expected throughout the construction period. Road users are encouraged to allow additional time while travelling or to travel outside peak periods and switch to high-occupancy transport modes where possible.”