Traffic congestion is going to get worse long before it improves as the City of Cape Town launches four major road upgrades before 2010.
The R235-million roadworks on Hospital Bend, set to begin on Monday, are expected to cause serious delays for motorists coming into Cape Town from the southern suburbs.
Elizabeth Thompson, mayoral committee member for transport, roads and stormwater, said at least two lanes in each direction would be kept open in an attempt to keep traffic flowing. This had been stipulated in the contract awarded to Haw and Inglis.
|'We acknowledge the inconvenience this upgrade will cause'
"We acknowledge the inconvenience this upgrade will cause road users, but the result will certainly make it worth while."
The upgrade of the N2-Settlers Way Freeway is to take 25 months, with completion set for March 2010.
The project, considered one of the most important of the city's transport-related undertakings for 2010, is to be funded by the national department of transport, the provincial government and the City of Cape Town. The province has allocated R20m.
The in-bound upgrade is to cost R155m, and the out-bound revamp R63m. The rest of the R235m is to go to project consultants.
Eddie Chinnappen, the city's executive director of transport, roads and stormwater, said the upgrade would allow drivers to select lanes before they reached Hospital Bend.
For traffic heading towards the city from the N2, three lanes converge into two on Hospital Bend.
With the improvements, there will still be three lanes, but drivers will be able to choose their lanes earlier.
The lanes coming in to Hospital Bend from the M3 are to split sooner into two independent lanes, so drivers may choose their lane well before hitting Hospital Bend. The same principles are to apply for traffic out of the city.
There will also be new bridges, a widening of the existing bridge and improvements to drainage, lighting and directional signs.
During the afternoon peak hour, more than 6 200 vehicles enter the top of Hospital Bend.
According to the final environmental impact report compiled in June, the upgrade has been on the cards since 1998.
The upgrade is not expected to have an effect on the Table Mountain National Park, the Groote Schuur Estate and plans for businesses in the area.
Motorists have had mixed reactions to the plans.
One, writing on an Internet forum, said there would be "absolute chaos and gridlock" during rush hour while work was in progress.
Another said the 25-month construction was an "extraordinary" length of time when a stadium could be built in less.
"This will be a good thing in the long run, but two years of even worse traffic than we have now is not an appealing prospect," said another.
There will also be delays on Atlantic Road, from Muizenberg to Clovelly, when the upgrade gets under way in March. Chinnappen said
motorists could take a detour along Boyes Drive.
Work is also to begin on Granger Bay Boulevard and
the Koeberg interchange.
- This article was originally published on page 1 of Cape Times on January 30, 2008