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Multimillion-rand upgrade of Mdantsane main access road starts

NEW LOOK: Buffalo City Municipality has set aside millions for extending Qumza Highway

The multimillion-rand upgrade of the Mdantsane main access road has finally started, and residents should brace themselves for more than a year of closures on the busy road.

Phase 7 of the major Qumza Highway upgrade was scheduled to commence from Monday, with the road closed. However, due to “unfavourable weather conditions”, section one of the four sections due for the upgrade remained open yesterday.

The congested Mdantsane City Mall road to Golden Highway will be expanded to four lanes at a cost of R117-million.

Although parts of the Qumza Highway are already dual lanes, the road goes into a single lane near the Mdantsane City Mall and is often congested as a result.

In an advert yesterday, BCM city manager Andile Sihlahla advised motorists that the roads would be closed to traffic from October 3 to November 2018.

“The purpose of the closures is to widen the road to a dual carriageway. Motorists are advised to make use of alternative routes where possible and to exercise caution when travelling [at] the work areas,” Sihlahla said.

BCM spokesman Samkelo Ngwenya said the road closures would be up to November next year, while it was estimated the entire road expansion project would be completed in 18 months. “The project is estimated to create 50 employment opportunities for the local community and local small, medium and micro-sized enterprises will be used [for] the construction components. Projects of this nature also have economic spin-offs as businesses are attracted by a smooth road infrastructure network,” he said.

The Daily Dispatch reported last year that the first phase would cover 2.36km out of a total 4.2km.

Ngwenya said the 6.8m width of the road would be expanded to 16m.

Qumza Highway has seen a high number of head-on collisions and vehicle-pedestrian conflict. “It is being upgraded to alleviate traffic congestion and improve safety for road users. Other factors of concern include lack of pedestrian facilities, lack of signage, poor lighting, continued flooding of cross-culverts due to heavy rains, potholes due to the failing condition of the pavement structure and lack of intersection control during peak hours,” Ngwenya added.

Mdantsane residents should expect the removal of existing surfacing and layer works, removal of pipe culverts and the installation of road fittings including guardrails and road traffic signage.

The Mdantsane East London Taxi Association and Uncedo Service Taxi Association told the Dispatch yesterday that they were happy with the development, and had been part of the process.

Mdantsane City Mall general manager Dean Deary said the mall had not been approached by BCM recently. “I only saw it in the paper today [yesterday]. I had seen it reported in the media before but nobody has approached us recently. I will look into it tomorrow [today] to see how it affects us and what we will do about it.” — mamelag@dispatch.co.za