Construction Newsletter No 1: February 2014

The City of Johannesburg is implementing Corridors of Freedom along Louis Botha Avenue and its surrounding neighbourhoods. One of the key aspects of implementing a Corridor of Freedom is to improve public transport, walking and cycling.

The City of Johannesburg introduced the Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system in Soweto in August 2009 and in and around suburbs around the universities of the Witwatersrand and Johannesburg in November 2013.

Over the next two years the Transport Department and its implementing agency, the Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA), will be:

  • Building 16 km of dedicated Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lanes joining the Inner City, Alexandra and the Sandton CBD. This will include a new bridge over the M1;
  • Constructing an iconic new public transport interchange at Watt Street in Alexandra;
  • Constructing a dedicated walk and cycle way from No 3 Square in Soweto to Sandton Square in the Sandton CBD. This will include a second new bridge over the M1;
  • Upgrading 30.2 km of pavements in Alexandra township for walking and cycling;
  • Building a new bus depot along Vincent Tshabalala Road in Alexandra; and
  • Improving the pavements, introducing traffic calming and street furniture along adjacent roads to the BRT and along feeder routes.

The Transport Department and the JDA will be issuing regular newsletters to interested and affected parties informing them on progress on construction, job and income opportunities.

In this newsletter we focus on initiating construction on dedicated lanes and upgrading the public environment in Alexandra for walking and cycling.

Construction of dedicated lanes

The Rea Vaya system is characterised by a dedicated bus lane in the middle of the road along the route and stations positioned at strategic pedestrian hubs. To construct the Rea Vaya, the first step is to build the dedicated lane.

From September last year, the City of Johannesburg embarked on a consultation process with a wide range of stakeholders to introduce them to the project and seek their views on how the project may impact on them. The focus of the consultation at this stage was on the trunk route which starts at the corner of Empire and Victoria avenues, proceeds left at Empire and Clarendon roads and traverses Louis Botha Avenue (which becomes Pretoria Main Road) until the intersection of Lees Street and Pretoria Main Road in Wynberg.

The consultation process took place through the public meetings, focus group meetings and one-on-one consultation meetings. These meetings were arranged through community leaders, residential associations and representatives of various community sectors. Comments and concerns obtained during the consultation process influenced the final designs of the route.

After the consultation process, public tenders were issued and have been awarded to four different companies who will be working on four different contracts as follows:

  • 15 A- Victoria / Empire Intersection to Fir Street (3 km) : Contractor: Axton Matrix
  • 15 B- Fir Street to Louis Botha Avenue (5.9 km ) : Contractor: Axton Matrix
  • 15 C- Louis Botha Avenue to Newick Road ( 8.6 km ) : Contractor: Bophelong JV
  • 15 D- Newick Road to Lees Street (12.56 km) : Contractor: Bophelong JV

locality mapFigure1: Locality Map

The construction work will start in March 2014 and will be completed by December 2016. The construction will be undertaken in phases for each work package as follows:

  • Phase1 (February 2014 – November 2014): The road pavement structure (two middle lanes of the existing road) will be constructed to BRT standards.
  • Phase 2 (November 2014 – October 2015): The road pavement structure of the outside lanes (to be used by private traffic) will be rehabilitated and the construction of the non-motorised transport infrastructure (pedestrians and cyclists) will be done.

The following is important information for residents and business owners:

Day Time Construction

The traffic signage will be set up as a safety measure and also to inform the public of the construction. All construction activities will take place behind yellow construction barriers.

Motorists are advised to exercise caution when driving along the construction site. Road narrowing signage is in place and a speed limit of 40 km/hr applies. Flag people do assist with directing traffic during the course of the day.

Night Time Construction

Almost all the road pavement strengthening for the BRT lanes (Phase 1 Construction) will be undertaken at night. The contractor will excavate the existing road layers for a planned length of road (typically 100 m) and have the asphalt replaced by the start of peak hour traffic the next morning. The road will be returned to normal operation during the following day.

There are several advantages and these include:

  • Access to businesses and properties are not affected during normal working hours. Special provisions will be made for access to properties after hours.
  • Traffic congestion during otherwise lengthy periods of construction is substantially reduced.
  • Public transport services are not disrupted during normal hours.

The overnight construction will start at approximately 20h00 until 5h00. This will be a moving construction work only taking one night per area. Special consideration will be given in the construction plan for school and other community events that will require the full capacity of the road. The roads closed at night due to construction will be open in the morning for public use.

Traffic Accommodation

Traffic will be accommodated through diversions during construction period. The diversions will be aligned to particular construction activities for each night of construction. Traffic will be controlled by means of stop-and-go by flag men or women.

During construction some right turns will be limited because of the work being done in the middle of the road. Where this happens, there will be sufficient road signage indicating alternative routes. This information will also be made available in advance to all interested and affected parties via this newsletter and other forms of media.

Public Environment in Alexandra

In 2014, 5 km of public environment upgrade will be implemented and in 2015, a further 25 km. The map below sets out where the upgrades will happen in 2014 and 2015.

proposed upgrade areasFigure 2: Proposed Upgrade Areas

The following will be done to improve the roads:

  • Provision of pavements and space for cycling;
  • Improving pavements with new paving and also new features to improve universal access;
  • Raised pedestrian crossings especially at intersections;
  • Provision of traffic calming measures;
  • Public art;
  • Street furniture including bins and benches; and
  • Provision of street lighting.

The implementation of this project is focused on empowering local SMMEs and giving local people jobs. The City will appoint a management contractor to do coordination and supervision but all work will be done by local SMME and workers.

SMMEs from Alexandra must submit a profile of their company and the CIDB certificate to the Regional office, 29 Fredman Drive, Sandton to Ms Sizeka Nobuhle Tamba at telephone number 011 582 1401 by end of business on Monday, 17 March 2014. Local jobs will be arranged through the Community Liaison Officers (CLOS) and ward councillors.

Construction will start towards the end of April 2014 and progress will be provided to all stakeholders, interested and affected parties via this newsletter.

Contact information

The City of Johannesburg would like to apologise in advance for the inconvenience caused to the residents, businesses and motorists along the route. Every possible means of minimising the inconvenience is the City of Johannesburg’s priority.

Please direct all comments, queries or suggestions concerning the road construction activities to:

Sibongile Hlomuka /Johan Blignaut / Ike Rampedi
Tel: 011 798 6000
Fax: 011 798 6005
Email: sibongile.hlomuka @rhdhv.com or
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Please direct all comments, queries or suggestions concerning the public environment upgrade construction activities to:

Andile Mkhaliphi / Sandra Mandalaza
Tel: 011 486 4076
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

If you want to receive future copies of this newsletter, contact Sibongile Hlomuka.

Copies of the newsletter will also be available on www.reavaya.org.za or www.jda.org.za.