Gauteng's R70 billion road injection all good and well...

Posted On Wednesday, 25 June 2008 02:00 Published by eProp Commercial Property News
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Government is to spend R70 billion to upgrade and improve some road networks in Gauteng through the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) budgetted over various phases until 2018.

Road InfrastructureSpeaking during the sod-turning ceremony which marked the launch of the project in Isando in Johannesburg on Tuesday, Transport Minister Jeff Radebe said the project would go a long way to reduce Gauteng's notorious traffic congestion.

However readers may question the ability to implement, more particularly given the poor maintenance of local and regional roads 'staring their vehicles in the rim' on a daily basis!

The Ben Schoeman Highway, which will celebrate its 40th birthday this year, is one of the busiest in the world, with more than 180 000 vehicles using the road during peak periods per day.

Mr Radebe said the congestion on the freeways around Gauteng were inhibiting economic growth and development.

This "heart bypass" for Gauteng will enable the economic hub of the sub-continent to grow without the hindrance of poor traffic management," he said, referring to the Ben Schoeman highway.

"The levels of congestion on Gauteng's roads are totally unacceptable and most inconvenient."

Not only will extra lanes be built on the highways, but also the interchanges will be improved to prevent the delays which are currently being experienced.

"This will also provide an opportunity for us to use technology such as Intelligent Transport System (ITS), which comprises Variable Message Signs, a Network Management Centre, Ramp Metering, opening of auxiliary lanes and Cameras," said Mr Radebe.

This equipment will help to manage traffic flow and keep road users informed about prevailing conditions to improve their travelling experience and reduce travelling times.

Mr Radebe said the ITS is controlled at the Network Management Centre, where information on traffic and construction is posted on the Variable Message Signs, over the radio and the internet.

The department will also introduce Electronic Tolling on all national tolled roads, whereby motorists will have a transponder in their vehicles which register their use of the road.

The minister said every effort would be made to have operational integration between the various sections of road.

The project is set to contribute R29 billion to the gross domestic product as well as R13 billion towards the regional Geographic Gross Productivity, by the end of 2009.

A number of jobs will be created during the construction, while skills transfer will ensure that construction workers gain more experience and learn more about their business.

The department will invest more than R12 billion in the first phase of the project which is scheduled to be completed by 2010.

During the final phase of the project in 2018, a further R23 billion will be invested.

The project follows a partnership between the Gauteng Provincial Government, the Tshwane and Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipalities and the City of Johannesburg.

Mr Radebe said the South African National Road Agency (SANRAL), which operates the ITS, has only been operating for one decade, but it has done an excellent job in providing leadership on the national roads'front.

According to Mr Radebe, it originally inherited 7 000 km of national road, and presently manages more than 16 000 km of roads which are of strategic economic importance to the country.

"Our road system is now considered to be among the best in the world, thanks to the development of systems to ensure world-class assessment and maintenance programmes.

As well as the full utilisation of public private partnerships, of which the acclaimed Maputo Development Corridor is an example," he said.

This will also be supported by the Gautrain, the National Rail Plan and a Bus Rapid Transportation system

Cabinet has also approved the Road Infrastructure Framework for South Africa, which is a blueprint for the planning, development and maintenance of the country's road network. Let's hope that this framework addresses the shortcomings in local and regional road maintenance in particular.

 

Last modified on Friday, 01 November 2013 09:30

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