Why a high­way on the Wild Coast?

Public Sector Manager - - Feature -

The Wild Coast re­gion has been iden­ti­fied as an area for strate­gic eco­nomic devel­op­ment in ac­cor­dance with gov­ern­ment's Spa­tial Devel­op­ment Ini­tia­tive.

The N2 Wild Coast high­way will vastly im­prove ac­cess to the re­gion and help de­velop the eco-tourism po­ten­tial of the area.

Ex­ist­ing roads such as the N2 and R61 tend to fol­low “water­shed align­ments” to avoid cross­ing deeply in­cised gorges and river val­leys. Be­cause of this, the ex­ist­ing N2 runs more than 100 kilo­me­tres in­land and reaches a height of some 1 700 me­tres above sea level at Brookes Nek be­fore it de­scends to the coast at Port Shep­stone.

The R61, in turn, runs al­most 60 kilo­me­tres in­land to Flagstaff, 1 000 me­tres above sea level.

Ac­cess to the coast is poor where it ex­ists at all, and no roads run along the coast be­cause of the deep val­leys and gorges.

In many cases it is only pos­si­ble to drive be­tween lo­ca­tions on the coast by first re­turn­ing to the R61. This can in­volve a round trip of over 100 kilo­me­tres to travel be­tween places only 20 kilo­me­tres apart.

Not sur­pris­ingly, this re­gion is one of the most im­pov­er­ished ar­eas of South Africa.

The NT Wild Coast high­way will im­prove ac­cess and link­ages in the re­gion, re­duce road-user costs and op­ti­mise safety and so­cioe­co­nomic ben­e­fits.

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