When the N2 upgrade in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) is complete, the 34km stretch of road between Mtunzini Toll Plaza and Empangeni will be a 14-metre wide, safer dual carriageway highway, reports the Zululand Observer.
The project, worth R946 million, is, according to the South African National Roads Agency (Sanral), one of the biggest road infrastructure developments undertaken in KZN.
Construction began in March this year and is expected to last 37 months – placing completion at about 2019, which will enable the road to cope with increased traffic volumes on what Sanral describes as a key arterial.
The new two-lane northbound carriageway will include the construction of two major bridges over the Mlalazi and Mhlatuze rivers.
Four agricultural overpasses over the N2 will be lengthened; new bridges will be built at the R34 Empangeni/Richards Bay interchange and at the P537 Port Dunford underpass; two roads over rail bridges will be constructed; and 16 major box culverts and numerous minor box culverts and other drainage structures will also be built.
In addition, the height of two overpasses will be increased by jacking up the bridges.
The existing road will be repaired and strengthened to become the new southbound carriageway once completed.
“Owing to the growth in traffic, the current lane configuration became inadequate, resulting in delays experienced by the travelling public,” Sanral eastern region project manager Corné Roux said.
He said current traffic volumes on the N2 south of Empangeni exceeded 12 000 vehicles a day, with the highest traffic volumes occurring on the section between the eSikhawini and Empangeni interchange.
Last Thursday, one of the bridges across the N2 was successfully raised during a delicate operation lasting three hours.
Motorists are advised to take note of the construction work on the N2 between Mtunzini Toll Plaza and the Empangeni T-junction and to be observant of the advance warning signs and speed reductions.
– Caxton News Service