Pretoria – Minister of Transport Dipuo Peters says the Moloto Road, dubbed one of South Africa’s roads of death, is to be transformed into a “road of hope”.
The 160km stretch of road runs through Gauteng, Mpumalanga and Limpopo.
“The Moloto Road has become synonymous with crashes, bus accidents, injuries and death. It has robbed communities of breadwinners and beloved mothers. Parents have had to stand at the open gravesides of their children,” said Minister Peters on Thursday.
The road has not been upgraded for many years and has had to cope with increasing traffic in recent years.
Statistics taken from a January 2012 to May 2014 show that there were 489 crashes on the Moloto Road, resulting in 158 fatalities and 594 serious injuries.
The modernisation of this road forms part of the Moloto Road Development Corridor which will include the much-needed investment in passenger rail to offer commuters a safer, faster and more accessible connection between Mpumalanga and Gauteng.
Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) and the China Communication Construction Company Limited have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding to explore areas of possible cooperation on the planning and implementation of the Moloto Rail Corridor Initiative.
Minister Peters said the Moloto Rail Corridor Development was a high priority initiative because of the various passenger public transport challenges.
“This intervention is intended to alleviate these challenges by exploring various solutions in addressing, amongst others, limited economic development in the area, limited access to work opportunities, excessive commuting distances from home to work and poor levels of service on substandard local roads.”
She said the full upgrade will take five years to complete, totalling approximately R4.5 billion.
The project spells job opportunities for locals from within the districts and municipalities in the area.
In addition, people will be trained in various aspects of engineering so they can look for jobs elsewhere once the project has been completed.
Minister Peters said the Moloto Road project will create about 5 500 jobs.
In addition, significant portions of the contracts will be packaged to enable small and medium enterprises to perform the work and gain experience.