Katherine Street, Marlboro Drive traffic relief on the way

Katherine Street, Marlboro Drive traffic relief on the wayThe expansion of the Rea Vaya BRT network to Alexandra and Sandton will not only benefit public transport commuters. The Katherine Street-Marlboro Drive artery in Sandton is a prime example of this. (Photo: Elias Nkabinde - CLICK ON IMAGE FOR LARGER VERSION)

One major source of traffic pain in Sandton is the exit route along Katherine Street, turning right into Marlboro Drive and heading for the M1. The JDA is working on changing this.

Three right-turning lanes from Katherine into MarlboroBoth Katherine Street and Marlboro Drive have been widened to accommodate three right-turning lanes from Katherine into Marlboro. (Photo: Elias Nkabinde - CLICK ON IMAGE FOR LARGER VERSION).For many Joburgers who work in the Sandton CBD and surrounding suburbs, the daily commute home is via the M1. And while the highway has its own traffic issues - it's one of Africa's busiest thoroughfares - getting to the M1 from the office is often the biggest headache.

And a major source of the pain is the Sandton exit route northwards along Katherine Street, turning right into Marlboro Drive and heading for the M1 north and south onramps.

Of course, many commuters continue eastwards on Marlboro Drive, bound for parts of Wynberg, Alexandra, Kelvin and the N3 eastern bypass. It's increasingly become a major connecting artery, and the road infrastructure - particularly on the Sandton side of the M1 - has not kept up.

BRT expansion a catalyst for road upgrades

This is set to change. The expansion of the Rea Vaya bus rapid transit (BRT) network into the city's north-eastern suburbs is acting as a catalyst for transport infrastructure upgrades all along the BRT route, and motorists who commute via Katherine Street-Marlboro Drive will be the first to feel the benefits.

The Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA), which is spearheading the BRT infrastructure rollout, has extended its roadworks well beyond the point at which Rea Vaya parts ways with Katherine Street.

The M1 north onramp off Marlboro Drive has been widenedThe M1 north onramp off Marlboro Drive has been widened to ease the flow of northbound vehicles exiting Sandton. (Photo: Elias Nkabinde - CLICK ON IMAGE FOR LARGER VERSION).Rea Vaya buses exiting Sandton will travel from West Street in the Sandton CBD northwards along Katherine Street all the way until, with about 800 metres to go before Marlboro Drive, they peel off onto a brand new BRT bridge being built over the M1.

Up to this point, the JDA's upgrades include the realigning of the intersection of Katherine Street with Harris Street eastbound, and the construction of a brand new, six-lane bridge to replace the old two-lane bridge over the Sandspruit River.

Beyond this point, the JDA's road widening and resurfacing, accompanied by kerbside and sidewalk upgrades, continues along Katherine Street and Marlboro Drive all the way to the M1.

Marlboro Drive widened, entries and exits upgraded

At the intersection with Marlboro Drive, motorists will soon have three right-turning lanes to choose from, leading into a widened Marlboro Drive boasting a new fast lane.

And motorists taking a widened onramp onto the M1 north, instead of having to tangle with motorists entering the M1 from the Wynberg-Alexandra side, will flow onto their own highway entry lane.

Construction work on all of the above is well advanced. In November-December last year, the western section of the new Sandspruit Bridge was completed, traffic was diverted onto this section, and the old bridge was demolished.

Construction of the eastern section of the new bridge commenced in January, with projected completion scheduled for September 2016.

At the same time, work on the Harris Street, Marlboro Drive and M1 south intersections, and on the widening of Marlboro Drive, is proceeding apace and will soon be nearing completion.