The City of Cape Town has announced plans to construct a freestanding elevated traffic circle – the first of its kind in South Africa.
The ‘sky circle’ will be built at the intersection of Govan Mbeki Road (M9) and Jan Smuts Drive (M17) in Hanover Park and is expected to create jobs, ease traffic and open new opportunities in the surrounding communities.
The project will take about 44 months to complete and forms part of the rollout of the MyCiTi bus service to the metro-south east. Some of the mooted benefits of the project include;
- MyCiTi commuters will get a reliable service that runs on time, according to the schedule
- Travelling times for MyCiTi commuters will be shorter
- Other road users will benefit from improvements at the intersection below, these will assist with traffic flow, thereby easing congestion
- Pedestrians and cyclists will have dedicated lanes, separated from the road
R15 million will be spent on temporary work opportunities for residents who are registered on the local jobseekers database, while a further R15 million will be spent on local subcontractors to provide goods and services to the main contractor for this project.
The project will commence on 7 July 2022, if all goes as planned, but residents will see major construction activity on-site only about three months later as it takes time to set up the work area, the city said.
What is a sky circle?
The new elevated traffic circle at the intersection of Govan Mbeki Road and Jan Smuts Drive can be described as a hollow circle in the sky, letting in light to the intersection below.
The traffic circle will be about 6.2 metres above the ground and will be for the exclusive use of the MyCiTi buses, once complete.
“The free-standing elevated circle will be the first in South Africa, demonstrating civil engineering at its best, to the benefit of all road users. A visual impact assessment formed part of the design and approval process. Given that the elevated traffic circle is hollow, there will be sufficient light reaching the ground level,” the city said.
“By separating the MyCiTi buses from general traffic, the City will ensure the service operates optimally between Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha and Wynberg and Claremont without being delayed by the traffic or congestion at the ground level of the intersection. This design will benefit MyCiTi commuters as it will reduce the travelling time to their destinations.”
The city added that road users will also benefit from significant upgrades, with the intersection at Govan Mbeki Road and Jan Smuts Drive experiencing congestion during peak hour periods.
Included in this project are interventions to improve traffic flow with:
- The reconfiguration of the intersection;
- Dedicated turning lanes;
- Improved traffic signals; and
- Improved signalisation or sequencing
“Pedestrians and cyclists will benefit from dedicated lanes for walking and cycling along Govan Mbeki Drive and at the intersection, and streetlights will be installed to improve visibility and safety at night.
“Existing sewer, water and stormwater infrastructure within the road reserve will be relocated and upgraded, which means improved services to the surrounding communities.”