The official opening of the completed R71 Moria interchange at the headquarters of the Zion Christian Church (ZCC) in Moria took place last Thursday. The upgrade cost about R140 million‚ and is the result of collaboration between the Department of Transport‚ South African National Roads Agency Limited and the church.
The interchange is a major link between Polokwane and the eastern tourism area of Tzaneen and it is foreseen that it will reduce traffic congestion and improve road safety‚ especially during Easter when millions of ZCC members converge in the area.
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. Improvements 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.
The Minister of Transport Dipuo Peters presided over the official opening of the completed Interchange as part of the October Transport Month (OTM) campaign.
Premier Stan Mathabatha addressed the dignitaries attending the function and thanked the Minister for the infrastructure development project which, he said, will bring huge relief and unprecedented benefits to the motorists, pedestrians and all road users in the area.
“As Limpopo we are grateful more than words can express,” he said. “We firmly believe that an infrastructure development project of this magnitude will go a long way towards boosting an inclusive economic growth and, above all, the improvement of conditions of living of the people of this province, and the country at large.”
He reportedly said the opening of the R71 road could not have come at a better time. ”As you know; we are now literally weeks away from the Festive Season and the end of the year. This is the busiest period on our roads, in particular this road.”
He said the road not only connects Polokwane and the second biggest town in the province, Tzaneen but is also a route to the much visited Kruger National Park and carries a huge quantum of timber on a daily basis.
“We are happy that this expansion will definitely lessen accidents on our roads. More importantly it will reduce the travel time, people will spend more time either in church or in their homes with their loved ones, as opposed to spending hours and hours on the road.
“I have no doubt that our traffic officials and emergency services personnel will definitely have their work load reduced for this road will significantly reduce traffic congestion,” Mathabatha said.
Story: NELIE ERASMUS