The much anticipated Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) is expected to change the face of Sandton, allowing commuters to travel seamlessly between Alexandra and Sandton by 2017.
Construction, which got underway in March 2015, is already at an advanced stage with a bridge connecting one of South Africa’s oldest townships to the upmarket business district – across the M1 alongside the existing Grayston Drive.
The multi-million rand bridge is part of the BRT phase 1C network extension which is being facilitated by the Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA).
Project resident engineer Trevor Nxumalo told SAnews on Tuesday during a visit to the site that the construction is well on schedule with foundations and groundwork for the bridge in place.
He said the ramp bases are mostly complete as well as beams that run over the highway, as well as the “twin pylons”.
“Our main focus will now be the deck and the pedestrian onramps of the bridge.”
City’s Corridors of Freedom initiative
Rea Vaya is a key component of the City’s Corridors of Freedom initiative.
The Corridors of Freedom initiative is part of the City of Johannesburg creating strategic arteries integrating various modes of transport, connecting mixed-use residential development nodes.
City of Joburg Member of the Mayoral Committee for Transport, Christine Walters, said work extending Rea Vaya’s dedicated BRT bus lanes from central Joburg to Alexandra, and from Alexandra to Sandton will be complete by November 2016.
This, she said, will also feature Rea Vaya trunk routes that will be accompanied by improved and wider pathways for pedestrians and cyclist.
“Our aim is to create safer, quicker access to the estimated 10 000 people who walk or cycle on the route daily,” she said, adding that it will also bridge the economic divide and bring people closer to the areas of their work.
Sandton area a construction site
Beside the bridge, the Sandton area is a construction site with work being done on the Sandridge Bridge, the Malboro interchange, cycling lanes along Linden road, as well as construction work along Maud street, West, Firth and Rivonia roads.
Roadworks could also be seen along Louis Botha Avenue from Parktown to Wynberg, and along Katherine Street in Sandton from Marlboro to the Gautrain station.
From Clarendon to Houghton, work is in progress, with the Clarendon retaining wall over 60% complete and the foundations for the BRT lane construction complete, according to the JDA.
Work also continues from Houghton Drive to Dunottar Street, with the completion of the street light installation and work on sidewalks in front of the business being in progress.
From Dunottar Street to 11th Avenue, with the exception of the area between Boundary Street and Main Street, the sidewalks are nearing completion on the south-bound side.
From Garden to Main Street, the sidewalks are also nearing completion on the north-bound side. The sidewalks from 3rd Avenue to 11 Avenue are fully complete.
Work from Athol to Arkwright continues to progress well with work on retaining walls and sidewalks. The relocation of an Egoli Gas pipeline from Athol to Corlett is about 50% complete, according to JDA project team member Siyabonga Genu.
Genu said the section of Louis Botha from Clarendon Street to Houghton Drive in Orange is planned for completion in November 2016.
“The section of Louis Botha from Houghton Drive to Louis Road will be completed in May or June 2016. The section of Louis Botha between Louis Road in Orange Groove and Wynberg is planned for completion in July 2016,” added Genu.
Sandton CBD to become more accessible
In the longer run, MMC Walters said, the Sandton area will consist of well-planned transport arteries linked to interchanges where the focus will be on mixed-use development.
“Residents will no longer have to use private motorised transport but can opt for alternative modes on dedicated safe routes which include cycling, bus lanes and pedestrian walkways.”
Through these projects, MMC for Development Planning, Ros Greef, said the City of Johannesburg intends to reshape the land use patterns to promote new mass public transport corridors as well as new network of non-motorised transport infrastructure that promotes walking and cycling.
“We are making the Sandton CBD accessible to cyclist, pedestrians and public transport users. We are changing the face of Sandton so that it easy, safe and quick to enter and the present traffic jams will be a thing of the past.”
Motorists called to be patient
Greef called on motorists to obey and be patient with the temporal traffic congestion.
The construction activities across the area has created over 1000 jobs and empowered 24 SMMEs.
Update on fatal incident along Grayston
The MMC also used the opportunity to update the media on the Department of Labour’s inquiry into the fatal incident involving the temporal pedestrian structure along Grayston.
She said the process has commenced which is planned to run from 19 April 2016 until August 2016.
“To date key stakeholders have submitted their statements confirming their roles and responsibilities,” Walters said.