N3 Bypass – The road that leads to destruction!

It looks as though the Karkloof residents have another “giant to fight” – this time the proposed N3 bypass, says Anita Turvey, a member of NEBRAC (No Eastern Bypass Route Action Committee).
You can view the following map using Google Earth: N3 Eastern Bypass Route.

This proposal has been knocking around for quite some time going back to the 1990’s when 3 possible routes were identified. The Shooters Hill was the one that was proposed through the Karkloof valley and the threat of the Karkloof Blue butterfly becoming extinct was the main reason this route was identified as being the most sensitive. However, the dust has been blown off the work done back then due to the much higher traffic (particularly truck) volumes on Townhill with increasingly severe crashes. This is compounded by the inherent problems of unstable geological formations underlying Townhill resulting in subsidence and slips, says Sarah Allen, Chairlady of the Curries Post Conservancy and a member of NEBRAC.

Sarah continues to explain that in 2012 SANRAL advertised for environmental consultants to conduct the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)  that would be    required prior to commencing construction of a bypass. CCA Environmental of Cape Town were appointed in November 2012. When I contacted them in November 2013 after being alerted about their appointment, CCA Environmental stated that they were conducting a “pre-EIA screening” in order to facilitate identification of the alternatives to be considered as part of the Scoping study (the scoping study is a relatively high level investigation aimed at identifying fatal flaws and determining a preferred route/s to take forward into the EIA phase which would require more detailed/in-depth studies). In the early 1990’s, three possible routes were identified. CCA Environmental have declined to indicate when they may go public with the application. Rob Wooding has drawn attention to a key piece of legislation currently making its way through Parliament that enable the proclamation of the N3 Pmb Bypass as “strategic infrastructure” in which case all efforts will be made to hustle the EIA process through like a hot knife through butter.”

The Karkloof Conservancy are concerned about this threat, as we are a biodiversity hotspot and home to many rare and endangered species – both fauna and flora. We are compiling species lists for birds, plants, mammals, reptiles, arachnids, insects and amphibians. Please keep us updated with your sightings and pass on any lists that you may have made in the Karkloof.

There is not much further info available at the moment but it is vitally important to act quickly and strongly.

Remember to fill in the opposition resolution forms which are available at the Karkloof Conservation Centre and the Karkloof Country Club for you to enter your details and so endorse the resolution.

Posted in Environmental Threats.