Why a highway on the Wild Coast?
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.