Progress in BRT plan

2014-07-29 00:00

TALK about introducing Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) System turned to action in the Msunduzi Municipality yesterday.

The BRT proposal will be subjected to an environmental impact assessment (EIA) on the overall project as the first phase of the project.

This will not only assess the positive and negative impact on the surrounding areas, but also on the residents. The process allows for the public to voice objections and make recommendations.

EIA public meetings will be held tomorrow and Thursday in the two areas that will hold the terminal stations of the main bus route.

Tomorrow’s meeting will be at Georgetown Hall in Edendale and Thursday’s will be at Northdale Civic Centre. Both meetings will start at 5.30 pm.

The design team, traffic engineers, socio-economic and environmental specialists as well as the Msunduzi Project Management Unit will be present to answer questions.

Msunduzi team member Nomonde Gwabeni said the dedicated bus lanes system was aimed at increasing public transportation use and reducing traffic congestion.

It is part of a long-term plan to have an Integrated Rapid Public Transport Network (IRPTN) in Pietermaritzburg.

The aim of the IRPTN in turn is to integrate existing modes of transport to improve and simplify commuter trips.

Gwabeni said according to the preliminary planning, the BRT system will comprise a 17,3-km long main bus corridor between Edendale, through the Msunduzi CBD via Church Street, to Raisethorpe. There will be 15 proposed intermediate stations located between two terminal stations, the first of which will be in Georgetown, the other in Raisethorpe. There is speculation so far that the Raisethorpe terminal will be on vacant land at the corner of Khan and Chota Motala roads — the site of the old Baijoo and Maharaj School.

Gwabeni said there will be a turnaround facility 14,7 km from the first station north-east of the N3 crossing.

“This BRT system in Msunduzi will be complemented by nine depot sites that will be located in the city of Msunduzi and surrounds.

This as well as a state-of-the-art control centre for the system called a Transportation Hub, where the system will be controlled, and which will be located in the CBD,” she said. The proposed rollout of the initiative is divided into four phases spanning over five years. The construction of the trunk (Right-Of-Way) within the CBD is targeted for early 2017.

There was an outcry at initial presentations over a proposal that the whole of Church Street be closed to cars to free up the street for pedestrians and the bus systems. Residents will get clarity on this aspect of the plan at the public meetings this week.

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