Gauteng traffic congestion to worsen, says Sanral

The roads agency says that R130 billion of planned new toll projects for the country remain on ice because they can't be funded.

An e-toll gantry on the highway in Gauteng. Picture: Abigail Javier/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – With today marking exactly half a decade since the controversial e-tolling system went live on Gauteng’s highways, the South African National Road Agency Limited (Sanral) has painted a bleak picture around increased congestion on provincial roads in the near future.

The roads agency says that R130 billion of planned new toll projects for the country remain on ice because they can't be funded.

Eyewitness News has visited a number of interchanges in the province where road infrastructure is battling to handle high volumes of traffic even during off-peak hours.

Retired United Kingdom roads design engineer Eddie Drewnicki has criticised Sanral for delivering what he calls "under-designed" interchanges.

The Gillooly's Interchange is one of the worst affected by traffic and bottlenecks with only two lanes diverting cars from Johannesburg to OR Tambo International Airport.

Drewnicki says that South Africans are not getting a satisfactory return on an investment when it comes to the roads.

“If the interchanges don’t work then there’s a no point having a system because that’s where you’ve major delays. But I don’t think enough homework was done.”

But the roads agency's Alex van Niekerk says that projects which had to be shelved due to a lack of funds, included an 11km extension of the R21, which was meant to link up with the N2 in Germiston to take pressure off the Gillooly's Interchange.

“We’re going to hit a point in the foreseeable future that we’re back to where we were prior to the upgrade of the Gauteng Highway Improvement project.”

Sanral says revenue collection through tolling of Gauteng roads started off well in 2013 but took a massive knock by June 2014, with an average of only 30% of motorists paying their e-toll bills.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)