As part of Transport Month launch activities, KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala joined by eThekwini Mayor, Cllr Mxolisi Kaunda and the MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, Ms Neliswa Peggy Nkonyeni, officially opened the King Cetshwayo (M13) Highway/ Essex Terrace Interchange, situated in the Westville area in the vicinity of the Westwood Shopping Centre on Sunday, 3 October 2021.
This infrastructure improvement project valued at R116 million was triggered by the new and future developments in the area which includes the Westwood Shopping Centre, residential developments near the shopping centre, student accommodation and the rezoning of residential properties to businesses.
During his address Mayor Cllr Kaunda, highlighted that the Interchange was highly congested with traffic due to all the activity in the vicinity. “As many motorists and public transport operators may know, this area used to be plagued by traffic congestion resulting to drivers spending a substantial amount of time on the road, because of the single lane to the mall and university campus. This infrastructure development will not only address traffic issues but open up business opportunities around the precinct.”
The infrastructure improvement work included, two additional lanes in the underpass, a dedicated left turning lane on the M13 Western off-ramp, an additional lane on the M13 Western on-ramp and additional lanes along the University Road.
The construction project created professional development, skills sharing and economic growth for small businesses and for local people from Ward 30 and surroundings community. During the 20-month project a total of R21 million was allocated to subcontracting opportunities, with 41 local contractors benefiting, 140 full time job opportunities created and 62 people received short term employment. These employment opportunities were in access of R10 million.
Cllr Kaunda expressed his gratitude to the stakeholders that were involved in the project. These included, the custodians of the M13 the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Transport, Telkom, Transnet, MTN, Neotel, Dark fibre, DFA – Existing services, Ward Councillor, Ward Committee, Community and local businesses, Business forums, Taxi Associations and Military Veterans. “For any project to be a success, fruitful inter-governmental relations and private stakeholder engagements are crucial. I am delighted that all stakeholders fully cooperated to ensure that this valuable infrastructure development is completed successfully.”