Saturday, 27 December 2008

Another Road Tunnel For The Cape?

The 3.9km long Huguenot Tunnel extends the N1 through the DuToits Kloof mountains and provides a shorter and safer link between the towns of Paarl and Worcester. It was opened in March 1998 and for the past 20 years has served thousands of motorists and truckers.

Over the past number of years the ever-increasing traffic volumes have increased concerns about the safety of both the infrastructure and the air quality inside the tunnel. It is noticeable when driving through the tunnel during busy periods that the air quality is poor and I have often wondered how safe it is to be breathing in noxious exhaust fumes.

I was therefore pleased to read that plans are underway to develop a second tunnel to complement the existing one. Both tunnels would be one-way roads and the second would have a world-class air-conditioning system installed. The existing tunnel's air-conditioning system would be upgraded after the building of the second.

Construction is expected to commence in 2010 and will contribute R963 000 towards toll income. More importantly and extra 280 permanent jobs will be created upon its completion. Over 200 jobs will be created during the six months of construction.

The project is estimated to cost R1.2 billion. However I would expect this cost to increase by the time the project draws to completion.

I am excited about the ongoing road construction and infrastructure upgrades I see in Cape Town and surrounds. Much of this will be seen as part of the legacy of the 2010 FIFA World Cup but I believe that, more than this, it is part of the ongoing development of Cape Town into a truly world-class city. The ongoing challenges of poverty alleviation and job creation are ever-present but it seems the city is on the right track.

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