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N17 Springs to Oshoek

Background

The N17 was designed in the 1980ís as an international link between Johannesburg and Swaziland (Oshoek). The road was designed as a dual carriageway freeway from Johannesburg to Oshoek. Sections of the planned route have been constructed up to Leandra as follows:

  • The section of the N17 from Johannesburg to Springs is mostly a dual carriageway and is already a national toll route.
  • The section from Springs to Leandra was constructed by the then Transvaal Provincial Administration (TPA) in 1990 as a single carriageway road.

Figure 1: Locality Map

The rest of the N17 route from Leandra to Oshoek follows the old alignment which has the following shortcomings:

  • It is not continuous, causing inconvenience to road users;
  • The pavement condition has deteriorated and most sections have reached the end of the design life;
  • It traverses through four towns, causing delays to the traveling public, and safety risks to the local public, especially pedestrians;
  • There are a number of 4-way stops where grade separation is required;
  • In general it has a low traveling speed;
  • There are few passing opportunities (especially in misty conditions);
  • Some of the sections has poor vertical and horizontal geometric standards;
  • There are sections with high crash rates.

SANRAL commenced with toll feasibility investigations in 2001. After the feasibility of the N17 as a toll route was determined, SANRAL appointed consultants for the rehabilitation, upgrading as well as design of new sections for the N17 from Springs to Ermelo. SANRAL also performed an EIA and Socio Economic Impact Assessment.

Detailed studies to determine the financial and economic feasibility of the project has been conducted by SANRAL. The total project cost, inclusive of the construction of toll plazas, is estimated to be R1300 million. In order to enable SANRAL to refund loans for the funding of the rehabilitation project, it is inevitable that the N17 from Springs to Oshoek in the Mpumalanga Province be declared a continuous toll road and toll plazas be erected at identified locations.

This route will be improved by upgrading and rehabilitation of the road. Some new sections will be constructed between Leandra and Trichardt (21 km) as well as past Trichardt (3 km) and in Bethal (1,5 km). The rest of the route will be upgraded to improved geometric standards such as improvements to the vertical and horizontal alignment, paved shoulders, interchanges at certain at grade intersections, and climbing/passing lanes.

The National Department of Environmental affairs and tourism gave final permission on 28 October 2005 for the project to proceed, after appeals against the initial Record of Decision (ROD) were successfully dealt with.

Project Description

The proposed N17 East Toll Road comprises Section 2, 3, 4 and 5 of the proclaimed N17 route. In general terms the route can be described as the existing N17 between Springs and Oshoek, with approximately 26km of newly constructed sections. The total length of the route is 290 km. The rehabilitation upgrading and expansion of this section of the N17 will ensure that an attractive economic link be preserved and maintained from Gauteng to Swaziland, enhancing export opportunities and economic growth in South Africa and Swaziland. The extent of the project and plaza locations is shown in Figure 2. A list of the proposed improvements is given below:

Section between Springs and Leandra (48km):

  • The rehabilitation of the pavement that reached the end of its design life;
  • Construction of interchanges at the Nigel and Devon intersections that will address the high crash rate that is currently experienced;
  • The addition of passing and climbing lanes;

Section between Leandra and Leven Station (21km):

  • This is a completely new section;
  • The section will be constructed as a limited access road with interchanges;
  • Initially, only one carriageway of a future dual carriageway will be constructed;
  • The section will have paved shoulders and passing and climbing lanes;
  • A mainline toll plaza will be constructed on this section

Section between Leven Station and Trichardt (12km):

  • The rehabilitation of the pavement that reached the end of its design life;
  • The addition of paved shoulders as well as passing and climbing lanes;
  • The construction of a ringroad section around Trichardt (3km);
  • The provision of grade separated intersections at high volume intersections.

Section between Trichardt and Bethal (30km):

  • The rehabilitation of the pavement that reached the end of its design life;
  • The addition of paved shoulders as well as passing and climbing lanes;
  • The construction of a link road to eliminate the staggered route alignment through Bethal (1,5km);
  • The provision of grade separated intersections at high volume intersections.
  • A mainline toll plaza will be constructed on this section.

Section between Bethal and Ermelo (50km):

  • The rehabilitation of the pavement that reached the end of its design life;
  • The improvement of the vertical and horizontal road alignment;
  • The addition of paved shoulders as well as passing and climbing lanes;
  • Consolidation of accesses and improvement of intersections;
  • A mainline toll plaza will be constructed on this section.

Section between Ermelo and Oshoek (130km):
Initially, this section will be properly maintained as part of the toll project. Thereafter, the following actions will follow:

  • Periodic maintenance actions;
  • Minor improvements of the vertical and horizontal road alignment;
    The addition of a narrow paved shoulders as well as passing and climbing lanes; consolidation of accesses and improvement of intersections;

The tender for the first section between Springs and Leandra has been awarded. Construction will commence in August 2007. The section between Leandra and Leven is currently in the tender stage. The project is plnned to be completed by the 2010.

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT (EIA) FOR THE N17 TOLL ROAD

Final Environmental Impact Report EIR N17 (1MB)
Environmental impact assessment (EIA) for the N17 toll road  (1.31MB)
Please click here for the Environmental Impact Assessment. (1,49 Mb)
N17 Record of Decision (Rod) (1.48MB)
RoD Final (87 Kb)
N17 Toll Road (1,49MB) (Click here)
 



 


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