The ANC has confirmed that construction of the controversial new multi-billion rand N2 toll road will begin in earnest by April 2017.
In an interview in the 8 February copy of the Dispatch, ANC provincial secretary Oscar Mabunyane confirmed that the party had received several progress reports during an ANC lekgotla held at the Esplanade hotel.
One of these reports indicated that construction of the N2 Wild Coast project would begin in earnest within the next two months.
The 410km route which runs from East London to the Mtamvuna River Bridge has faced heavy controversy since its inception, with critics pointing to the cost of the project and its detrimental effects to the environment as reasons why it should be scrapped.
According to an October 2016 report commissioned by Sustaining the Wild Coast (SWC) and compiled by economists Professor Gavin Maasdorp and Allen Jorgensen, the benefits of a new 85km highway are far outweighed by the risks.
They noted that, despite the creation of 6,700 direct jobs over the next 5 years, costs were likely to spiral out of control to an amount closer to R8 Billion – R5.5 billion more than the R3.5 billion quoted by Sanral.
In addition, the economists note that while the road would shorten the trip from Durban to East London, there are serious questions surrounding the costs involved in creating a new road with exorbitantly-priced bridges, compared to upgrading the current route.
Of greater concern, the economists said, was that the data Sanral was using to justify the toll road was over eight years old. As a result, traffic volumes simply no longer apply, while costs have mushroomed, invalidating the original cost benefit analysis.