The safety of motorists and pedestrians as well as the preservation of the road surface on the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast has been boosted with the opening of two strategic projects today – a truck weigh bridge and a busy intersection.

Minister of Transport Joe Maswanganyi launched the Eteza Traffic Control Centre and the Kwabhoboza Interchange which were constructed by the South African National Roads Agency SOC Limited (SANRAL) at a total cost of almost R500 million.

The Eteza Traffic Control Centre will help curb extensive overloading of trucks which has resulted in a marked deterioration in the condition of the province’s road network.

Damage to roads as a result of overloading leads to higher maintenance and repair costs and shortens the life of a road. This in turn places an additional burden on the state as well as law abiding road users who ultimately carry the costs of careless and inconsiderate overloading.

At the overload control facility at Eteza, heavy vehicles of more than five tons gross mass are weighed. Drivers of heavy vehicles will be issued a fine if the vehicle exceeds the permissible mass on gross mass and/or axle unit mass.

The overload control facility is also used to inspect the roadworthiness of vehicles on a 24-hour basis.

At Kwabhoboza, the existing intersection was very busy and the high speed of the vehicles travelling on N2 made the crossing extremely dangerous not only for motorists but also for pedestrians trying to cross at this intersection.

The improvements at the interchange have resulted in improved and safer walkways for pedestrians; improved safety for pedestrians and motorists; and a reduction in accidents.

In addition, taxi lay byes and pedestrian facilities were provided within the interchange precinct. A new pedestrian fence on the road reserve within the KwaMsane community was also installed.

Apart from contributing to road safety and preserving the roads infrastructure, the two SANRAL projects also involved the community through jobs creation and skills training.

Apart from the road safety improvements afforded by the Kwabhoboza Interchange, roads within the residential areas were improved.

Dumisani Nkabinde, Operations and Maintenance Manager at SDANRAL Eastern region said during preparation for the construction of the Kwabhoboza Interchange, SANRAL undertook a transportation study of the function of the N2 within the Mtubatuba region.

The study conducted around 2008/2009, reported that daily there were between 500 and 700 pedestrians crossing the N2 freeway unsafely especially at the point where the new interchange is now built. Several serious and fatal accidents were witnessed weekly.

The report also revealed that due to the poor condition of community roads linking KwaMsane Township and the Mtubatuba town, motorists and pedestrians were being forced to use the N2 as the access road into town.

SANRAL addressed these road safety problems. The municipality was assisted in the construction of concrete internal collector roads by SMMEs at a cost of R21 million.

SANRAL also rehabilitated other community roads in the area after community members complained about flooding of their houses due to poorly designed existing roads.

The launch of the Eteza Traffic Control Centre and the Kwabhoboza Interchange coincided with the drawing to a close of October Transport Month 2017 during which the Department of Transport advanced the country’s road safety initiatives whilst also creating awareness of the economic benefits of the sector.

A month-long successful campaign under the theme “Together we move South Africa Forward”, incorporating scores of events in villages, towns and cities, resulted in greater understanding of the critical role that transport plays in the lives of our people.

Under the theme “Together we move South Africa Forward”, October Transport Month motivated all stakeholders to reaffirm their commitment to improving the quality of transport facilities, to addressing service delivery backlogs in transport infrastructure, to promoting road safety and to encouraging community dialogue about transport.

Minister Maswanganyi also addressed a community imbizo at the Amangwe Sports Field at KwaMbonambi.

Minister Maswanganyi said the government’s investments in rail, roads and public transport were changing the way people accessed their places of work, study and entertainment.

These investments also helped to grow the economy, and address the challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality.

“The transport sector is at the heart of the country’s development and it is my duty to ensure that South Africans have safe, reliable, affordable and convenient public transport.

“Improved road infrastructure also has the potential to bring about a quantifiable reduction in fatalities. Decisions made at the design stage can have a significant impact on the level of death and injury when the road has been constructed.

“Best global practices in design and engineering are increasingly being implemented in developing countries and South Africa is, indeed, fortunate to draw on the experience and expertise available at an organisation such as SANRAL which is widely-respected among its peers in the industry,” said Minister Maswanganyi.