STATEMENT BY DONALD GRANT
MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND PUBLIC WORKS
RECENTLY UPGRADED R192 MILLION HESSEQUA ROAD OFFICIALLY OPENED
Thank you all for being here today in celebration of what is now the completed N2 – Stilbaai project. It is an honour for me to officially open this road, a R192 million project that has been 26 months in the making. The project has seen the rehabilitation of a total of 26kms of road, transforming it to the high quality, safer road we have today.
The professional project and contract teams undertook this project with the clear objective of making this road safer for not only the traffic which uses it daily, but also for the pedestrians and cyclists.
The work on the project included:
- The addition of a 1.5 meter surfaced shoulder on both sides of the road.
- The addition of passing lanes on three sections of the road to allow for easier passing for faster moving traffic.
- The realignment of a 1.6 km portion of road at Skerpkoppies, both vertically and horizontally, to improve safety.
- The addition of a sidewalk from the bridge linking Stilbaai East and West, to Melkhoutfontein.
- The addition of a traffic circle at the road and bridge junction to improve traffic flow.
- The addition of guardrails, two cattle creeps, five large culverts, with bridge expansion joints repaired.
Where necessary, the pavement of the road was also strengthened.
The project met and exceeded its local empowerment targets by creating work opportunities for 260 people over the 26-month period (65% being young people, and 32% being women). A total of R11 million was spent on local labour, with another R21.7 million (14%) spent on targeted enterprises, including suppliers, sub-contractors, and manufacturers.
Significant progress has been made since the site was initially handed over in January 2016. We appreciate the community’s patience during the duration of the project, with necessary stop/go measures having been implemented at particular times.
Hessequa is an area rich in history and potential, with attractions that have long been a draw-card for the tourists that visit this area annually. With its indigenous Khoi name, meaning “People of the Trees”, Hessequa’s prime location between the Langeberg Mountains and the Indian Ocean, stretching from the Breede River in the west to the Gourits River in the east, makes it one of the hidden gems of the Western Cape.
The value add to any municipality of a road rehabilitation project of this magnitude cannot be overstated. This road project will go a long way in complementing the economy of this region.
According to the Socio-Economic Profile of the area, published last year by the Western Cape Government, the Hessequa municipal area is the second smallest local economy within the Eden District, with a regional GDP of R3.281 billion in 2015, with an estimated 1.6% growth in the following year.
Our greater roads network remains a critical asset of my department and of the WCG, having a replacement cost value which is in excess of R100 billion. So important is this asset, that just this financial year alone, we have allocated R3.588 billion to the construction and maintenance of transport infrastructure, forming a significant portion of the spend of this department. Our network not only carries the bulk of the traffic in this province, but also provides key economic linkages between communities and regions.
I look forward to seeing this region continue to reap the rewards of this newly rehabilitated road.
I must take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in the successful implementation of this important project. Your continued dedication to service excellence is commendable.
Thank you as well to the local municipality, residents’ associations, community leadership, Stilbaai Tourism, local enforcement authorities, Stilbaai Chamber of Commerce and various interest fora. Your continued partnership is an essential feature of economic development and stability.
May all who use this road in the many years to come enjoy safe passage, while taking the time to enjoy all that Hessequa has to offer.
I thank you.