Westbury's new Corridor of Freedom landmark starts taking shape

Artist's impression of the new bridgeArtist's impression of the new bridge, which will include a stairway connecting directly with Westbury's bus rapid transit (BRT) station. (CLICK ON IMAGE FOR LARGER VERSION)

A new pedestrian bridge currently under construction in Westbury will give residents safe passage over a busy main artery, connect them directly to Westbury's BRT station - and create a new landmark and public space for the community.

Construction of the bridge gets under wayConstruction of the bridge gets under way. (Photo: Elias Nkabinde).In 2013/14, the Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA), in consultation with the Department of Development Planning, commissioned the development of a precinct development plan for Westbury.

This yielded a list of catalytic projects to be implemented over the coming years in the suburb located just to the west of Sophiatown and Auckland Park, along the City of Joburg's emerging Empire-Perth Corridor of Freedom.

New landmark and community space

One of these projects, currently in development, is the construction of a new pedestrian bridge which will provide safe passage for residents over a busy main artery, connect them directly to Westbury's bus rapid transit (BRT) station - and create a new landmark and public space for the local community.

westbury bridge3 300Artist's model of the new bridge. (CLICK ON IMAGE FOR LARGER VERSION).The new bridge will cross over Fuel Road in close proximity to Rea Vaya's Westbury station, connecting Kretzschmar Street in Westbury with Kowie Street in neighbouring Coronationville.

Local residents emphasised the need for a bridge to help alleviate the high levels of pedestrian-vehicular conflict at this location, and a traffic study backed them up, revealing that an average of over 500 pedestrians per hour cross Fuel road at or near this point during the weekday morning and evening peak hours.

School kids, parents to benefit

The model from another angleThe model from another angle, showing how the bridge will create a new community space at the same time. (CLICK ON IMAGE FOR LARGER VERSION).According to JDA development manager Siyabonga Genu, the new bridge "will especially be beneficial to children who attend surrounding schools, because Fuel Road is a busy route and parents are often seen helping their children cross the road".

Bernard Isaacs Primary School is located less than 100 metres south of the new bridge site, while Westbury Secondary School lies about 500 metres directly north. Other nearby community facilities on either side of Fuel Road include Coronation Clinic, the Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital, and Coronationville's indoor heated public swimming pool.

The roll-out of the new bridge is in line with the City's commitment, through its Corridors of Freedom programme, to create liveable, sustainable urban environments which residents are able to navigate safely and efficiently.

Corridor of Freedom projects in Westbury

The Westbury BRT station on Fuel RoadThe Westbury BRT station on Fuel Road. Rea Vaya's network will form the backbone of the City's Corridors of Freedom. (Photo: Elias Nkabinde).The Empire-Perth Corridor between Soweto and central Johannesburg is the first of three new Corridors that aim to overcome Johannesburg's legacy of apartheid town planning by optimising development in and around high-intensity movement corridors.

Other Corridor-related projects that the JDA is implementing in Westbury include:

  • The construction of Westbury's multi-million rand new healthcare centre, which is set to be one of the City's model clinics.
  • The upgrade of Westbury's sports stadium and recreational park.
  • The construction of "complete streets" with pedestrian-cycling infrastructure on Kretzschmar Street, Dowling Avenue and Steytler Road.
  • The construction of pedestrian-cycling infrastructure along Du Plessis Street and Main/Dublin Road as well as along Millar Street, Victoria/Ludlow Road, Edward Road and 4th Avenue in neighbouring Sophiatown and Wesdene.
  • Various housing developments, including the renovation and redevelopment of apartments as well as new housing.
  • A heritage scoping study to identify heritage conservation projects in the area.