Neccta (Nkomazi East Combined Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Association) hosted a meeting in Komatipoort at the Kambaku golf course. Fanie Lombaard, Louis Steyn and Michael Walters on behalf of Raubex, the contractors attending to the road building, (the building operations due to commence after the Easter weekend), attended the meeting.
The purpose of the meeting was for the Komatipoorters to get acquainted with what the contemplated broadening of the N4, from the ”info center” up to the BP filling station, implies. The meeting was held on the 18th March 2013, to ensure that the community and Raubex interact prior to the operational works. In his address, Louis Steyn (contract manager) on behalf of Raubex, explained that the N4 would be broadened, that shoulders would be introduced to the cross section of the main entrance of Komatipoort, and that the development of these works would start off on the side of the road of traffic driving to the West, where after only it will be done on the side of the N4, of traffic driving East. It was very soon clear the meeting was essential.
It emanated in the discussion that Raubex was not aware of the fact that the informal access to Komatipoort, that is the gravel road that also passes over the low water bridge, carries traffic in a quantity of approximately 1500 vehicles per day. During the meeting it seemed as if this traffic volume has not been pre-meditated nor probably pre-considered by the Raubex. The attendees consequently requested Raubex to investigate the matter, given that if the unnumbered road were to be closed, as the meeting understood it would be, then in that case, the buildup of traffic on the N4 would be so severe that traffic might at times not move at all, whilst the road works are being done.
Business people and tourism people attending the meeting requested a reconsideration of the closing of this unnumbered road, and proposed that it remains open, and still carries the commuters and other traffic, smoothing the burden on the N4, especially the road works commence. Neccta’s convener, Engelbrecht, and the Lowvelder/Corridor Gazette learned from Raubex after the meeting adjourned yet before the end of business day, this unnumbered road shall however not be closed, in fact – it would also, likewise the main entrance to the town, actually be broadened with shoulders, easing traffic in and out of this road – to, when done, calm traffic. In the interim the gravel road would continue to carry the load of smaller commuters, whilst the road building of the N4 is being done.
A second very important matter that emanated from the meeting, is the impact of traffic in the future, at the main entrance of the town. This cross junction, close to the Sasol garage, will see road shoulders, in time certainly adding significantly to traffic calming in as far as access into Komatipoort is concerned, and traffic calming in as far as egress from the town - towards the border post, is concerned. However, as a consequence of the road shoulders, the attendees remarked, it could be banked that traffic commuting from Nelspruit towards the border post, and from the border post towards Nelspruit shall increase, all logically travelling by then at higher speed too, as is presently the case, when in nearing this cross junction.
This is irrespective from which side the traffic is coming. As a logical consequence of this, it would be highly risky for traffic from Komatipoort to enter the junction, egressing from Komatipoort onto the N4 towards Nelspruit. In fact this would be more dangerous, than is the case at present. The meeting was well attended, by the broad spectrum of business and tourism in Komatipoort. The meeting learned and noted that the Lebombo Drive Port Development envisages a bypass bypassing in time the town in the whole, to link up with the town at the point where this cross section might no longer matter.
The majority of attendees to the meetings however categorically indicated that such a long time envisaged bypass, could not negate the immediate need for a robot. This resulted in the meeting appealing to Raubex to ensure a robot shall be introduced, at this spot. It was reiterated Neccta in the past petitioned to the authorities requesting traffic lights, at this very same spot. In view of the expected increase of traffic movement at the cross section, it is crucial a robot is introduced, whilst the broadening is being done, in a best interest of the safety of commuters leaving Komatipoort. Louis Steyn immediately contacted the engineer involved in the project, and received feedback that Raubex will very soon learn whether this robot could be introduced. It sounded very optimistic.
Raubex confirmed that the introduction of a robot makes sense. They commented a robot should not be expensive, and the costs of introducing robots need not be an obstacle. Neccta thanked business and tourism as well as Raubex for their attendance, in the high numbers and quality participation, at short notice. Neccta hopes to receive feedback and confirmation in as far as the robot is concerned.