Thursday, July 31, 2008


The total length of roads in KwaZulu-Natal is 25,600 km. This includes 1,147 km of the road network in the eThekwini Metro area and 1,138 km of national routes. 6,656 km are surfaced and 18,943 km are gravel.

The main national routes are the N3 (Durban to Gauteng), N2 South (Durban to Kokstad) and the N2 North (Durban to Pongola). The N3 to Gauteng is the busiest road freight corridor in South Africa, carrying a volume of over 1.5 million vehicles per year on the Durban to Pietermaritzburg section. The authorities charged with the maintenance of provincial roads face the continual challenge of maintaining the condition of roads with limited funds, in spite of increasing usage.

The combined effect of national policies of deregulation of road transport, commercialisation of rail, increased legal axle-mass loads and gross combination mass of heavy vehicles has resulted in a continual shift of cargo from rail to road transport. This results in an increase in road damage, accidents, congestion and gas emissions.
The situation is aggravated by endemic overloading of heavy vehicles which, though better controlled in KZN than the rest of the country, has negative consequences for the life of the roads in the province.

The cumulative effects of increasing road usage and accumulated deficits in the funding of road maintenance are felt by all road users in terms of increased vehicle operating costs. The deteriorating condition of roads in KwaZulu-Natal is a cause for grave concern as it contributes to rising costs, inflation and increasing accident rates. It is noteworthy that the Department has in recent years, placed considerable emphasis on the development of roads in remote rural areas and is in the process of upgrading several major provincial roads such as the P700 route to Ulundi and the P496 John Ross Highway from Empangeni to Richards Bay .

It will in the near future be critically necessary to reassess the provision of road infrastructure between the N3 corridor and the Port of Durban as increasing congestion and delays are having a negative impact on the efficiency of the logistics system surrounding the port.

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