Road Links Along the MDC

The N4 national highway was the first major infrastructure project completed after the implementation of the Maputo Corridor agreement had begun. The N4 stretches almost from South Africa's border with Botswana via Pretoria to Maputo in Mozambique and provides a world-class trunk route between the three countries. The upgrading and maintenance of the N4 west of Pretoria was concessioned to a company called Trans Africa Concessions, or TRAC until 2028. TRAC is a founder member of MCLI.

The Greater Witwatersrand cities of Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni are connected to the Maputo Corridor via the N12 highway, which connects to the N4 near Witbank.

The N4 also connects two border posts, i.e.

A total of six TRAC N4 Toll Road Plazas connect Pretoria to Maputo, ensuring a modern and well-maintained trunk route to the Ports of Maputo and Matola in Mozambique.  Four are on the South African side, with two on the Mozambican side.


From the South Africa / Mozambican border, the N4 becomes the EN4 that connects directly to the Ports of Maputo and Matola, thereby easing traffic congestion in the downtown Maputo area through two Toll Plazas, i.e.


Source: TRAC N4

For importers and exporters alike the N4 is a fast, safe and efficient road to the international ports of Maputo and Matola.

The N4 offers round-the-clock response teams to deal with incidents, the latest technology, the safest road construction, tamper-proof SOS-telephones and a management policy that ensures continuous maintenance and upgrading.

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Historical Overview

In July 1996 the governments of Mozambique and South Africa signed a framework agreement for the development of the Maputo Corridor, which included an ancillary agreement for the establishment of a toll road between the two countries. In May 1997, a concession was awarded to Trans Africa Concessions (TRAC) to build and operate a toll road between Witbank in Mpumalanga Province, South Africa and Maputo. Those negotiations reached financial closure seven months later, in December 1997. In March 1998, TRAC took over control of the N4 national road from the South African National Roads Agency (NRA). In June 1998 construction of the toll road was officially launched at the Ressano Garcia border post.

Six months later, in December 1998, the Middelburg toll plaza, linking Witbank, a major centre for metallurgical industries in South Africa, with Middelburg, roughly the middle point between Pretoria and Maputo was officialy opened. Eleven months later in May 1999, the Machado toll plaza linking Machado Dorp and Waterval-Boven opened, followed two months later in July 1999 by the opening of the Nkomazi toll plaza linking Malelane and the border.

In March 2000, the Moambo toll plaza opened on the Mozambican side. This road was virtually useless as a result of the long Mozambican civil war and was reconstructed to modern standards, suitable for heavy traffic. January 2001 saw the opening of the Maputo toll plaza. The latter toll road offered transporters the most convenient access to the ports of Matola and Maputo as it links directly with the harbour. The construction was essential given the condition and slow pace of rehabilitation of Maputo's road network.

March 2001 saw the end of the initial construction phase of the toll road. In the space of two years and six months, a major transport corridor in Southern Africa has re-awakened, offering the first glimpse of enormous potential of an ongoing process to enable the regions importers and exporters as well as the respective governments a central infrastructural foundation of economic growth and development.

In April 2002 weighbridges opened in South Africa followed by weighbridges in Mozambique in August 2004. This was designed not only to secure revenue collection used for the ongoing maintenance of the road, but as well as making the road safer for all users by preventing overloading.

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Offramp

May 2005 saw the completion of the access road to the South African Border Post. This was previously a big bottleneck as traffic congested during peak times. This section of the road however is not part of the toll road concession as TRAC's responsibilities ends where the access road to the border post entrance begins.

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The Road Ahead

Although TRAC is responsible for ensuring that the road remains in an excellent condition for all road users, infrastructure alone is not enough to reap the benefits that this Corridor has to offer. MCLI continues to represent stakeholders by facilitating discussion between the private sectors of both SA and Mozambique and the respective governments. The road is just a link in the chain, albeit an important one.

To ensure the continued development of the Corridor as a transport route and to ensure that future expansion makes adequate provision for users of this Corridor, it is necessary that organised stakeholders join in efforts to secure representation for your interests. Join MCLI and have a voice. We will make sure your voice is heard and taken seriously if you have a qualified concern or constructive contribution to make.

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