By SA Commercial Prop News 11/08/2014
SA National Road Agency Limited (Sanral) has confirmed the completion of conceptual designs for the multibillion-rand expansion of the R72 coastal road between East London and Port Elizabeth.
The SA National Road Agency Limited (Sanral) has confirmed the completion of conceptual designs for the multibillion-rand expansion of the R72 coastal road between East London and Port Elizabeth. The two cities are the province’s major economic hubs, making the road key to economic development. Sanral may have to borrow as much as R5bn from banks to tide it over until next April, as the delay in implementing e-tolls eats into its finances. Sanral chief financial officer Inge Mulder said on Wednesday the agency began talks with local banks “some time ago”.
Sanral is facing a cash squeeze after more than two years of delays to the e-toll programme in Gauteng. The agency, which relies heavily on the bond market to fund road programmes, has not been able to issue new debt since September 2011.
Uncertainty over the commencement of tolling has eroded investor appetite for Sanral bonds and trading in its bonds in the secondary market has dried up. The expansion of the R72 will include resurfacing and the addition of lanes where necessary. The total cost of the work is estimated at R5.3-billion.
Sanral spokesman Vusi Mona said he could not give timeframes for the commencement of the work.
Regional director Mbulelo Peterson has, however, confirmed that a tender committee will this week decide on the appointment of the contractor for the resurfacing and addition of lanes on the section between the Keiskamma River and the East London airport.
This project alone would cost R73-million, he said.
The 227km road was incorporated into the national grid together with several other provincial roads in 2012 after its ownership was transferred from the provincial government to Sanral.
Mona said Sanral would spend R745-million over the next three years on upgrading the R72.
He was unable to say whether Sanral would, in the future, toll the R72. Neither could a Public Works official.