New upgrades coming to South Africa’s busiest highways

The South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) is currently making a number of upgrades to two of South Africa’s busiest highways –  the N2 and N3.

The agency said that it plans to spend R28 billion on improvements to the highways in the coming months – including an increase in the number of lanes, and configuration changes to some of the busiest interchanges.

“As a road authority, Sanral’s primary sphere of influence is engineering. However, the N2 and N3 upgrade programme will allow for the facilitation of an integrated approach to improve safety for all road users,” it said.

“It is not just human factors, such as speeding, not wearing seat-belts or careless driving, that increase the risk of a crash occurring. Poor road design can also cause crashes.”

In addition to the above upgrades, Sanral said that it would also be looking to make the following changes:

  • Quieter roads – By using noise-reducing asphalt mixes and specialised concrete grinding techniques, motorists will be able to travel along the N2 and N3 peacefully with less tyre noise;
  • No more dangerous curves – Apart from resolving chronic traffic congestion through the construction of additional traffic lanes, Sanral said that the upgrading of the N2 and N3 will also result in increased safety. Dangerous curves will be ironed out, while unsafe intersections will be redesigned, it said. Sanral said will also realign parts of then N3 where the steep grades cause major traffic congestion and serious crashes;
  • More robust pavements – More damage is caused to roads by heavy vehicles than light vehicles. To cater for growing volumes of freight traffic on the N2 and N3, Sanral said it will consider pavement design methods and materials to decrease deterioration.considered;
  • Environmentally friendly – During construction on the N2 and N3, Sanral said it will commit to enhancing eco-efficiency and identifying and managing or eliminating environmental risks. This will include planting partnerships in its quest to re-populate the entire road reserve to a similar state it was in before construction. The agency said that during the recent upgrading of the Hammarsdale Interchange, several plant species, including a range of specially protected bulbs and aloes growing along the busy N3, have been translocated to a temporary nursery to save them from being destroyed;
  • Improved spaces for nonmotorists – Sanral said that the upgrades are being designed for ‘all users’ including pedestrians, non-motorized road users and local communities and businesses. The safety of motorists and pedestrians alike, will be a central consideration in every decision made about construction, it said.

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New upgrades coming to South Africa’s busiest highways