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Cape Town warned of traffic chaos as city fights tolls

Jun 23 2015 06:58
Andre Janse van Vuuren and Liezel Hill

"Instead of concentrating on flying banners at events, we concentrate on flying messages when road traffic is gridlocked," says Thomas Kritzer, CEO of Sky Messaging. (Photo: Facebook)

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Cape Town - National roads agency Sanral said delays to tolls needed to fund a planned R10bn upgrade of Cape Town’s freeways will intensify traffic jams in South Africa’s most-congested city.

The warning comes after the city asked the High Court to prevent Sanral from signing a deal with the Protea Parkway Consortium to use road tolls to pay for the redevelopment of freeways.

The start of an electronic toll system around Johannesburg and Pretoria in 2013 met resistance from road-users and labour unions who encouraged people not to pay, saying costs for roads should be funded from taxes.

The renovation of about 150 kilometers of freeways around Cape Town will help to decongest the region’s roads, Sanral Chief Executive Officer Nazir Alli said in a June 17 interview.

“Cape Town will have to make an improvement on the road network,” Alli said. “The economy of Cape Town will suffer” for as long as court proceedings continue, he said.

TomTom NV, the Dutch maker of satellite-navigation devices for cars, named Cape Town as South Africa’s most congested city in 2014, according to an index published on the company’s website. A commute in the city that should last 30 minutes takes an average of 53 minutes to complete on most days, TomTom said.

Cape Town is working within its means to improve the most clogged areas of its network, Brett Herron, the city’s mayoral committee member for transport, said in an emailed statement. The city is South Africa’s only major metropolitan area controlled by the opposition Democratic Alliance party.

“We are doing so without privatising the roads and burdening our residents with toll fees,” Herron said.

Sanral should “focus on how it can fund only what is necessary to maintain acceptable traffic flow conditions without contriving a case for a multi-billion rand project”, he said.

sanral  |  cape town  |  tolls
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