One of the City’s biggest congestion relief plans that, the three year-long R194-million Kommetjie Road Project is expected to be completed by the end of this year.
The City of Cape Town Mayoral Committee Member for Transport Felicity Purchase says that disruptions to the public during the construction process are “unavoidable” due to the large scale of the project.
“The Kommetjie Road Project is a major infrastructure project. At least a 100 people are working on this site – covering an area of over 20 hectares – each day. Visitors and those living in Noordhoek, Kommetjie, Masiphumelele, Ocean View, and Fish Hoek should regard this area as a huge construction site … We’re building new roads and replacing underground infrastructure while everything else above ground – from traffic, to water provision and the rest – must still carry on regardless,” she says.
The project is expected to complete at the end of 2019 unless there are any unforeseen challenges or delays. The developments it involves include road upgrades and installments of new underground services such as water mains, sewer pipelines and electricity cables to benefit the residents of the ‘Far South’.
Purchase assures locals that the project is working under strict deadlines.
“To put it in perspective: we’re spending on average of R6.4-million a month on this site, inclusive of the labour and material. The contractor is working strictly according to the project schedule, and is meeting the deadlines for milestones.”
The road project covers a distance of approximately 3.5km and involves the following:
– Additions to Kommetjie Road (M65) with a four-lane dual carriageway between Capri Drive and Corsair Way. Inclusive of general rehabilitation of the existing roadway.
– Upgrading of the Ou Kaapse Weg (M6) to transform it into a four-lane dual carriageway between Noordhoek Main Road and Kommetjie Road. General rehabilitation of the existing road.
– Improving the sight distance for road users by upgrading the intersection at Ou Kaapse Weg and Silvermine Road.
– In order to improve capacity and flow of traffic in the area, an upgrade to four signalised intersections to create additional turning lanes.
Purchase said that most of the work is happening underground, and so is for the most part out of sight from the public.
“Some residents complain that they don’t see workers on site. The irony is that most of the work is happening underground, in trenches in the road reserve, where labourers are replacing old water mains, stormwater pipelines, and electricity cables with new infrastructure that will last at least another 50 years. Residents must also bear in mind that we can only build the new lanes after we’ve installed the new underground services.”
Underground upgrades include the addition of three water mains, one sewer main, new storm water infrastructure to support the existing and new lands, conduits for fibre optic telecommunication networks, high and medium voltage electrical cables, and cabling for new streetlights.
Purchase explains that increased traffic congestion is a result of population growth in the city.
“Insofar as the traffic congestion is concerned, I want to point out that we have the same number of lanes available to traffic as on the day when the project started. Thus, the carrying capacity of the road network in this area is still the same as before. This is one of the conditions of the contract and the contractor is complying with this condition under trying circumstances. We suspect that the increase in traffic volume is due to population growth, as well as to the poor state of the rail service which has a severe impact on the lines to and from the Far South, forcing more people to use their cars to get to work.”
An additional dedicated left-turn lane for motorists travelling in a westerly direction towards Kommetjie will provide relief at the intersection between Kommetjie Road and Capri Drive. This new addition will be finalised in the next few weeks.
As well as this, outdated signalling infrastructure at the intersection at Kommetjie Road and Capri Drive is being replaced with modernised technology to improve traffic conditions.
“The [new] technology replaces some of the magnetic loops with cameras to do vehicle detection and change the phasing of the traffic signal in accordance with the traffic volume. The time allocated to the green phase for traffic to cross the intersection is therefore still determined by the number of vehicles. This also means the light will only change to red if there is traffic coming from another direction that needs to cross the intersection,” says Purchase.
The City has advised locals to avoid Kommetjie Road, Ou Kaapse Weg and Noordhoek Main Road between 6am-9am and 2.30-4.30pm due to heavy congestion.
An influx of tourists will continue to increase traffic in the area over the first four months of 2019.
Purchase explains that traffic officers are only deployed to areas based on availability and that she is fully aware of the impact it has on the community and locals.
“I … am fully aware of the impact of the project; but once completed, we’ll all benefit from the additional lanes and the investment in the underground services.”
Pictures: The City of Cape Town