The R220-million upgrade of the R55/K71 roadway in Centurion, Tshwane, from a single carriageway to a dual carriageway, began on Friday after a sod turning by the Department of Public Transport, Roads and Works.

The upgrade will be undertaken by Patula Construction and Vela VKE, and would take 24 months, with completion expected in December 2009.

Gauteng provincial government spokesperson Alfred Nhlapo said that an amount of R1,5-million has been allocated for the training of labourers and Small Medium and Micro Enterprise contractors. All training would be under the auspices of the Construction Education and Training Authority, and would be accredited.

The project entails the construction of a section of the road from the northern on/off ramp to road N14, and 6,3 km just before the intersection with road K103, and traffic would be accommodated on the existing road while the second carriageway is being constructed. The existing Monavoni Circle would be replaced with a signal-operated intersection. The two legs of the intersection, road P102/1 towards Wierda Park and Monavoni, will be realigned over a short section.

Prompted by the growing demand for public services in the province and the outlay of transport infrastructure, in particular, the project “was also brought about by our realisation that this road could no longer provide a safe and efficient service to the residents of our province due to its limited capacity to address the needs of new communities along the stretch of the roadway,” Nhlapo added.

The Department affirmed that the strategic objective of the project was to “ensure the building of safe and sustainable communities and to improve the efficiency of an important provincial road link while also helping to improve road capacity and promoting black economic empowerment during the construction phase”.