The department of environmental affairs and tourism is pressing ahead with plans to build toll plazas on the N1 and N2 freeways into Cape Town, despite objections by local authorities and the business community.

The department of environmental affairs and tourism is pressing ahead with plans to build toll plazas on the N1 and N2 freeways into Cape Town, despite objections by local authorities and the business community.

The Cape Town Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry said the department had taken a decision to authorise the SA Roads Agency to go ahead with the reconstruction and upgrading of sections of the highway, following the receipt of a favourable environmental impact report. This is despite the local authorities and the business community’s condemnation of the proposals.

Business Report says the section of N1 between its intersection with the R300 and Sandhills will be tolled, while the N2 will be tolled between the R300 and Bot River near Hermanus. This will involve constructing a new alignment of the road through the Helderberg.

Albert Schuitmaker, the director of the chamber, said his organisation opposed the toll road idea as it would impact negatively on the communities based along the roads. A toll road on the N2 would affect the growing number of people commuting between Cape Town and Hermanus everyday while winelands and fruit growers in the Elgin area would be faced by the increased cost of trucking export products to the Cape Town’s harbour.

Hennie Roux, the director of public services for the Overstrand Municipality, which covers the Gansbaai, Hermanus, Hangklip and Kleinmond areas, said if a toll road was put in place along the N2, the alternative route would have to be the R44 road through the residential areas of Kleinmond, Betty's Bay and Rooi Els, and over a mountain pass that was clearly not constructed for heavy vehicles.

Frank van der Velde of the Cape Town municipality said he could not disclose its view just days ahead of a mayoral discussion, though he did say that the council had previously advocated the introduction of a municipal fuel tax to pay for roads.

"There is enabling legislation that could allow us to do so," said Schuitmaker. Such a tax was more efficient than toll roads as they had to employ people and build infrastructure to collect the funds in order for toll road operators to get a cut of the monies collected.

Schuitmaker said it was difficult to justify expenditure on selected roads while there were more important priorities such as improvements to public transport.

Those opposed to the development have until the end of the month to lodge a formal appeal.

Original article from Car