The Kommetjie Road Project is one of the Cape Towns's biggest congestion relief projects with a total investment of R194m over three years. The site covers an area of 20,000m2 or 20 hectares, and most of the work is taking place in trenches where new underground services - such as water mains, sewer pipelines, and electricity cables - are being installed to the benefit of the residents from the far south.
‘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.
The inconvenience that goes with a project of this scale is unavoidable because 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,’ Alderman Felicity Purchase, the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Transport.
The City is investing R194m in this project which will be completed by the end of this year (2019), pending any unforeseen challenges or delays.
‘To put it in perspective: we’re spending on average of R6,4m 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,’ said Purchase.
The Kommetjie Road Project entails roadworks covering a distance of approximately 3,5 km:
the upgrade of Kommetjie Road (M65) to a four-lane dual-carriageway between Capri Drive and Corsair Way, and the rehabilitation of the existing roadway
the upgrade of Ou Kaapse Weg (M6) to a four-lane dual-carriageway between Noordhoek Main Road and Kommetjie Road, and the rehabilitation of the existing roadway
the upgrade of the intersection at Ou Kaapse Weg and Silvermine Road to improve the sight distance for road users
the upgrade of the four signalised intersections with additional turning lanes to improve the capacity and flow of traffic at Kommetjie Road and Capri Drive; Kommetjie Road and Ou Kaapse Weg; Ou Kaapse Weg and Buller Louw Boulevard; and at Ou Kaapse Weg and Noordhoek Main Road
‘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,’ stated Purchase.
The following underground services are being replaced or relocated:
three water mains
one sewer main
new stormwater infrastructure to support the existing and new lanes
conduits for fibre optic telecommunication networks
high and medium voltage electrical cables
cabling for new streetlights
‘In so far 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,’ explained Purchase.
Road users can expect some relief at the intersection at Kommetjie Road and Capri Drive with the addition of a dedicated left-turn lane for those travelling in a westerly direction towards Kommetjie. This will happen within the next few weeks, when the traffic is switched onto the new roadway that is currently under construction.
‘We’ll also replace the dated signalling infrastructure at this intersection with new signalling technology. The 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,’ said Purchase.
Road users are advised to consider travelling outside of the peak hour periods, if possible.‘I know not everybody can do this, but those who can must try to avoid Kommetjie Road, Ou Kaapse Weg, and Noordhoek Main Road between 6-9am and between 2:30-6:30pm on weekdays. It’s tourist season and the first four months of the new year are always busy before we see a drop in vehicle numbers going into the winter.
‘Residents must also understand that the deployment of traffic officers at the worst affected intersections are dependent on the availability of resources. I live in this area and 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,’ said Alderman Purchase.
Community representatives are reminded of the community liaison meetings which take place every two months. These meetings serve to inform the communities of the project progress, and provide a forum to raise concerns. The project team is present at these meetings to jointly explore possible solutions. Residents wanting to attend these meetings should contact Claudette Muller at Chand Environmental Consultants at .
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