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Transport for Cape Town (TCT), the City of Cape Town’s transport authority, has commenced with the upgrade of a section of Spine Road, one of the busiest roads in Khayelitsha where we will, among others, install mole barriers to prevent Cape dune moles from ruining the road. Read more below:

This project is valued at approximately R28,2 million and entails the upgrading of Spine Road between the intersections with Mew Way and Alpine Street.

‘Spine Road is one of the busiest main routes linking Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain. About 11 130 vehicles use this section of Spine Road on a daily basis. The road surface has deteriorated over the years due to the volume of traffic, the presence of greywater, and the activities of the Cape dune mole rat. Furthermore, a significant number of pedestrians walk to their destinations along this route, but there are currently no pedestrian facilities or street lighting. The purpose of this project is to address these shortcomings in providing the residents from Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain with a much improved road and with facilities that will improve the safety of the most vulnerable road users – notably pedestrians and cyclists,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member: Transport for Cape Town, Councillor Brett Herron.Apart from the resurfacing of this section that is about 1,7 km long, TCT will also construct sidewalks and install street lighting on both sides of the road. The shoulders behind the yellow line will be 2,5 m wide and will be marked for cyclists.

‘Once completed, these improvements will be to the benefit of all road users in terms of safety and convenience,’ said Councillor Herron.

Given the complexity of the roadworks, the project will take about a year to complete if all goes according to plan.

This section of Spine Road is in a very poor condition with cracks, deformation and mole damage. Potholes will follow soon if the City does not undertake the urgent rehabilitation work.

‘Some residents may be unaware of the serious damage that the infamous Cape dune mole rat does to our roads. This mammal grows to about 38 cm long and digs tunnels under the roads which collapse under heavy traffic. Their underground activities also cause undulations of the road surface, leading to poor ride quality and other failures. This section of Spine Road counts among their favourite digging grounds and, as such, we will now install mole barriers along both sides of the road to prevent them from digging under the road. It is time-consuming to install mole barriers, but the advantages make it worth our while,’ said Councillor Herron.

To start off with, TCT will pulverise and recycle the existing base and surface of this section of Spine Road to a depth of about 20 cm. A new 9 cm thick asphalt base will then be placed on top of the recycled layer, followed by a new 4 cm thick asphalt surface.

The roadworks will be done in stages and will require road closures and stop-go systems to accommodate the traffic.

‘It is no simple task to replace the road surface. We have no choice but to close the section that is being worked on as the recycled material needs about seven days to cure and gain strength before we can work on it again. We will create temporary bypasses where there is enough space in the road reserve to do so. However, there are sections where we will have to implement a stop-go system and residents will have to make provision for delays that may extend their travelling times by about 20 minutes or so,’ said Councillor Herron.

Apart from the resurfacing, TCT will also install new stormwater infrastructure to improve the drainage of greywater and rain.

‘Spine Road is an important link between Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha in terms of the movement of people and goods. I want to urge residents and visitors to please be patient while the roadworks are under way. I am confident that the upgrading of the road infrastructure and the provision of pedestrian and cycle facilities will contribute towards making residents’ movements easier, safer and more convenient,’ said Councillor Herron.

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