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Batho Pele Principles

Reconstructed R71 Road at Moria will ease high volume of traffic

By Maanda Mulaudzi

The Minister of Transport, Depuo Peters, cut the ribbon to mark the official opening of the partial reconstructed  R71 road at Moria on 27 October 2015. Premier Chupu Mathabatha said that the completion of the project came with huge relief and unprecedent benefits to the motorists, pedestrians and all road users in the area.

The improved project spanning approximately 49km starts at Moria and ends in Tzaneen. This road is a major link between Polokwane and the eastern tourism area of Tzaneen. The section of the route currently experiences high volumes of traffic, with fairly high percentage of heavy vehicles due to commercial traffic and wood transport along the route. The need to rehabilitate and upgrade this section of the road was of paramount importance to sustain the traffic along the route for the next twenty (20) years.

The road was upgraded from 39km to 63,4km in width and provided with strategic climbing or passing lanes to improve traffic flow and safety.  New crushed stone base and surfacing were added to improve the strength of the road, together with the upgrading of the existing drainage structures.

Four existing bridges had to be improved, namely the Pou River, Smith Street, Broederstroom and Stanford Lake. The bridges had to be demolished and reconstructed. The project generated 262 permanant full time jobs at the value of R21 million.

This road connects Polokwane and the second biggest town in the province, Tzaneen. It is also a route to the much visited Kruger National Park, the biggest game reserve in SADC region. A huge quantum of timber is transported on this road on daily basis. The two churches,  ZCC and St. Engenas are part of the immediate beneficiary, Pedestrians are now have a safer crossing zones

The R71 Road interchange is located on the Headquarters of the Zion Christian Church (ZCC) in Moria which falls within the Polokwane Local Municipality in the Capricorn District of Limpopo Province. It is a major link between Polokwane City and the eastern tourism area of Tzaneen town in the Mopani District.

Just over a year ago, the R71 interchange towards Moria had many challenges that included constant congestion, resulting from a clogged–up two lane for traffic  coming from the opposite direction. This traffic jam would reach its peak around Easter time, when millions of pilgrims gather at the R71 interchange to access Moria, their central place of worship.

The upgrade cost close to R140 million. The project started in April 2014 and the aim was to have the road fully operational before the Easter weekend in 2015 which was achieved. Improvement that were made included widening, overlaying and doubling of carriageways on the R71 and construction of a pedestrian walkway on the shoulders and at the interchange.

Pedestrian safety was also taken into consideration which resulted in the construction of access to the taxi lay-bye on  the R71 giving assess to Moria with walkways. Median lightning along the dual R71 from km mark 34 to km mark 39 and concrete bridge were also added.