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Knysna’s Upgraded Lagoon Road Officially Open At Last
Neil Oelofse

Knysna marked the end of years of traffic jams and dangerous driving conditions on the western entrance to the Garden Route town with the official opening of the upgraded lagoon road yesterday.

Traffic was stopped for a few minutes while Knysna Mayor Eleanor Bouw- Spies cut a ribbon stretched across the newly widened road, watched by senior officials from the Western Cape Transport Department and a large crowd of workers who helped complete the R120-million project.

Bouw-Spies said the upgraded 5km stretch of the N2 highway, which runs alongside the lagoon from White Bridge to the outskirts of the CBD, was “vital to the prosperity of our town”, as Knysna was largely dependent on tourism.

The upgrade, carried out on schedule over 22 months starting in June 2008, also “could not have come at a more important time” with the World Cup starting next month, Bouw-Spies said.

She thanked the Transport Department for helping Knysna with funding and technical support, Ero consulting engineers, main subcontractor Haw & Inglis, and the hundreds of workers employed on the project.

Transport deputy director-general Hannes Mouton said the project costs had escalated massively from the time the upgrade was approved until the tender was awarded, meaning everyone involved “had to swim upstream” to find ways to reduce the bill.

The road was now not only safer for motorists. A wide pavement had also been added for pedestrians and cyclists, Mouton said. A satisfying aspect of it was the value it added to the quality of life of all Knysna’s residents, he said.

The project involved the widening and upgrading of the existing 7.4m- wide road to include surfaced shoulders, turning and passing lanes, paved sidewalks and a handrail.