One of South Africa’s busiest highways is getting an upgrade – including a new R300 million bridge

 ·16 Feb 2021

The South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) says it will soon start work on much-anticipated upgrades to the National Route 3 (N3).

The upgrades form part of a R30 billion upgrade package for both the N2 and N3 highways in and around Durban in KwaZulu-Natal.

Sanral said that its initial work will involve the upgrade of the N3 between the Dardanelles interchange and the Lynnfield Park interchange situated between Cato Ridge and Pietermaritzburg.

“During the next 42-month construction period, the existing four-lane dual carriageway road will be upgraded to an eight-lane dual carriageway by widening to the median and outer shoulders. The existing Dardanelles interchange will also be upgraded to improve traffic flow,” it said.

“The construction will be result in an investment of R1.48 billion in this section of the highway and create an estimated 700 employment opportunities.”

Sanral said that the upgrade is a part of the government’s strategy to use infrastructure delivery to kickstart the economy.

“Initial work will impact traffic utilising the R103 north of the Camperdown interchange to south of the Lynnfield Park interchange.

“STOP/GO traffic accommodation along this section of the R103 will be in place to repair the R103 surface and to lower the R103 where it crosses under the N3 north of  Dardanelles,” said Corné Roux, Project Enginee of Sanral Eastern Region.

Roux said that ‘stop & go’ controls are anticipated to be effective from 12 February 2021 until 15 May 2021.

He added that the main upgrading activities on the N3 are expected to commence in May 2021, starting with the widening of the southbound carriageway.

“Motorists are, however, advised to take note of the construction site and to be observant of the advance warning signs and speed reductions when travelling past the construction work zones.

“The safety of road users and construction workers is of paramount importance. We urge all road users to be extra vigilant, drive with extreme care during the upgrades and obey traffic rules at all times,” said Roux.

Another project which forms part of the N3 upgrade is the Westville Viaduct/Paradise Valley which will feature the first network arch bridge to be constructed in South Africa.

The proposed bridge will span the entire N3 without any support piers, creating space for additional lanes. Sanral said that it’s estimated cost is R300 million.

“The N3 upgrade project will improve the capacity of the N3 from the Westville Viaduct to the Paradise Valley Interchange in KwaZulu-Natal,” said Transport minister Fikile Mbalula.

“The total length of construction will be a massive 1,666km and will include an innovative arch bridge to span the N3.”

The below map and graphics indicate all of the major upgrades planned for the N3 by Sanral and where they will be introduced.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has said that infrastructure projects form a key part of the government’s Covid-19 recovery plan.

Speaking in his 2021 state of the nation address on Thursday, Ramaphosa added that government’s R100 billion infrastructure fund is now in operation and that the country has billions of rands in planned infrastructure development, including upgraded highways.

“We have now developed an infrastructure investment project pipeline worth R340 billion in network industries such as energy, water, transport and telecommunications,” he said.

“This includes the rehabilitation of the N1, N2 and N3 highways, the student housing infrastructure programme, and the Mokolo and Crocodile River water project.”

Read: South Africa to get new ‘post-apartheid’ smart cities and upgraded highways: Ramaphosa

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