Date for road upgrade set

2019-11-12 11:55
Roadworks on Jan Smuts Drive to alleviate congestion are under way.

Roadworks on Jan Smuts Drive to alleviate congestion are under way.

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Motorists from Lansdowne, the broader Athlone, Gugulethu and Nyanga using Jan Smuts Drive (M17) can look forward to the completion of the approximately R193 million major road infrastructure project by December 2020.

The upgrade forms part of the roll-out of Phase 2A of the MyCiTi bus service to the Cape Flats. Preparations are under way to turn Jan Smuts Drive (M17) into a dual carriageway between the intersections with Turfhall Road (M24) and Govan Mbeki Road (M9), inclusive of two red bus lanes in the median.

“The contract was given to the contractor in July 2018 and he was obliged to provide temporary work opportunities to the value of about R6.5 million to residents from the area.

“Furthermore, goods and services to the value of approximately R11 million should have been procured from local businesses as far as possible,” Felicity Purchase, Mayco member for transport and urban development, said at the launch of the project last year.

This section of Jan Smuts Drive covers a distance of approximately two kilometres, and is one of the main access routes to the M5 highway and Jakes Gerwel Drive.

Apart from additional lanes, the project includes the upgrade of two busy intersections: Jan Smuts Drive with Turfhall Road and Jan Smuts Drive with Blomvlei Road; as well as a 3 metre-wide walking lane on both sides of the road for pedestrians and cyclists; new signage; and the installation of street lights.

“Residents who benefitted from this project had to register on the local subcouncil database. Local businesses were encouraged to submit tenders after the contractor placed advertisements for the procurement of goods and services related to the project,” says Purchase.

The investment in new road infrastructure will benefit all road users. Once completed, the additional lanes will relieve congestion along this section of Jan Smuts Drive.

The local economy will also benefit because the movement of people and goods is pivotal for optimal productivity and economic growth.

To date, the main focus has been on the relocation of the underground services such as water mains and electric infrastructure, Telkom lines and fibre optic cables – a complicated and time-consuming process.

Last year, before the December holidays, the contractor undertook dust control measures to settle the loose soil as far as possible before the site closed for the builders’ holiday on 14 December.

“After the holiday, the contractor commenced with the roadworks in January with the construction of the western side of Jan Smuts Drive,” Purchase says.

At the beginning of the year, a temporary traffic circle was implemented at the intersection of Jan Smuts Drive and Turfhall Road to accommodate the traffic while the construction is under way.

“Adding capacity to our existing road network is important, but we are also working on establishing an efficient, affordable, extensive and intermodal public transport system.

“The new BRT lanes along Jan Smuts Drive form part of the incremental roll-out of Phase 2A of the MyCiTi service between the Cape Flats, Wynberg and Claremont.

“Apart from the upgrade of Jan Smuts Drive, we are also busy with the upgrade of Stock Road in Philippi, and the construction of two new bus depots in Mitchell’s Plain and Khayelitsha,” she says.

Once rolled out, the proposed Phase 2A of the MyCiTi service will provide access for approximately 1.4 million residents from the outskirts of Khayelitsha and Mitchell’s Plain to the urban centres of Wynberg and Claremont via a direct and scheduled public transport service.

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