Access Management in Rural Mpumalanga on the P17/6 – Mrs Willemien Dreyer, Lidwala Consulting Engineers
ABSTRACT: P17/6 (R538) between Hazyview and White River in the Ehlanzeni district of the Mpumalanga province was rehabilitated. Construction started in November 2013, and the completion date was set for 30 November 2015. The Clients’ objective was to rehabilitate the road to extend the structural life of the road with 20 years. Part of the scope was to determine the current level of service at some of the junctions and provide options to increase capacity and general safety thereof. Furthermore, the client indicated that access control is a problem on this road. The vast extending rural villages along the route were changing the road from a vehicle only route (mobility road) to a mixed vehicle and pedestrian route (activity or access street) (TRH 26, 2012). Thus, changing the road classification from a primary distributor to a district distributor or local distributor at certain sections (Guidelines for Human Settlement Planning and Design Vol II, 2000). Part of the scope was to investigate the possibilities of closing some of these accesses, combine accesses to one access point on the main road and moving property entrances away from the main road. An access management plan was developed during design stage. However, during construction stage it was unfeasible. The community was opposed against the changes and disrupted the works to an extent where the walkway and kerbing construction action became the critical path of the project. The problem had to be addressed on site and the goal to reinstate the road to a primary distributor was not met. The end result was a compromise between reinstating the road to a primary distributor and keeping the local community happy. Although, the safety of the road user and pedestrians and local traffic was improved, the level of service of the road had not. Recommendations regarding future access management plans includes the setting out of informal rural areas, before development start or as soon as development start. It also includes extreme measures such as the reclaim of the road reserves and upgrades of the local streets.
Keywords: ICAM 2016, Access management; Mpumalanga; rural roads; community