The Huguenot Tunnel, which is part of the N1 national road outside of Cape Town, will be closed to traffic at night from June 14 as it prepares to move to the next phase of its upgrade.
Much of the extensive maintenance work has been done under live traffic conditions over the past two years, but the South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) says the next phase will include the improvement of the tunnel fire detection system and the replacement of the tunnel strip and adaption lighting, which all require quiet traffic conditions.
“Statistics show that only 10% of the daily traffic passing through the tunnel [does] so at night-time,” says Randall Cable, Sanral Western Region Manager.
“In terms of the least disruptive time, the tunnel would thus be closed to traffic from 10pm to 6am, Monday to Thursday. This means that the tunnel will still be open during the daytime Monday to Thursday and fully open 24 hours a day from Friday to Sunday for all road users”.
The tunnel marks 33 years in service this year, and its electrical and mechanical systems have neared their stage of obsolescence and need replacement to ensure compliance to international safety standards.
Substantial maintenance work has been completed under live traffic conditions to ensure minimal inconvenience to road users and these include:
- 11Kv line replacement between the tunnel and the Main Control Centre (MCC)
- Installation of back-up generators at the MCC and portal buildings
- Most of the water mains replacement
- MCC building upgrade
- Replacement of variable message signs (VMS) and all electronic signage in the tunnel
- Replacement of the MCC fire detection and suppression system, and
- Upgrade of emergency radio system in the tunnel and MCC.
- Sanral says it has been engaging with stakeholders from local and provincial government, the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco), the local business community and various other parties on the closure of the tunnel and its impact on business operations.It says this is to allow affected entities to adjust their travel times or use any of the various alternative routes, which may include DuToitskloof Pass between Paarl and Worcester (about 62km) or the N2 between Grabouw and Villiersdorp (41km).“Where unforeseen changes to the schedule are necessitated, we will communicate these as soon as possible to ensure that road users are fully informed of the work being carried out and the effects this may have on traffic flow,” says Cable.It is anticipated that the upgrades will be completed by September 30.
This story first appeared on Moneyweb and has been republished with permission.