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THE construction of the R560 million Kokstad Interchange and traffic control centre on the N2 is progressing well and is currently at 27% completion stage despite challenges that attempted to hamper the smooth running of the project. This is according to the South African National Road Agency (SANRAL) when giving an update to the Acting MEC for the Department Transport in KwaZulu-Natal, Jomo Sibiya on Saturday, when he visited Kokstad with the Harry Gwala District Mayor, Councillor Z.D. Nxumalo and the provincial delegation to officially turn the sod for yet another massive R87 million P609 road (Hope Street) facelift project in Kokstad.

The delegation led by MEC Sibiya were warmly welcomed by the Greater Kokstad Municipality Mayor Cllr B.M. Mtolo who expressed delight at the newly introduced project is already on site. The N2 Kokstad Interchange is located about three kilometres to the south of Kokstad along the R56 provincial route, from the existing intersection.

The upgrade of the Kokstad Interchange is expected to be for a duration 33 months and has so far resulted on an expenditure of 16% of the contract value, which amounts to just over R 90 million. The upgrade will separate the N2 and the R56 and is set to significantly contribute to     improving the level of service for the next 30 years. This project involves the construction of a new interchange on the N2, section 21 (6.4 kilometres) to replace the existing intersection of the N2 with the R56. The proposed interchange comprises a new threespan bridge which will carry traffic on the R56 over the N2 towards Kokstad or south towards Umthatha.

This project also includes widening an existing river bridge on      the N2, extension of two existing box culverts, and the construction of five new box culverts and a new agricultural underpass. It also involves the realignment and upgrade of approximately two kilometres of the R56 towards Kokstad Central Business District (CBD). A new service road parallel to the R56 for approximately 1.4 kilometres will also be constructed to serve existing businesses that access the R56 directly.