THE pedestrian promenade linking Soccer City Stadium and the transport hub in Nasrec is complete and ready for use.

Built at a cost of R82-million, the walkway straddles the Rea Vaya busway and railway line, giving football fans and journalists from the International Broadcasting Centre (IBC) easy access to the stadium.

“The pedestrian bridge is more than 50 metres long, including the ramps on both sides of the promenade. It provides a north-south link to the transport hub and the stadium,” says Nyiko Gudlhuza,a senior Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA) project manager.

Construction of the pedestrian promenade, a Stefanutti Construction and Moloko Group Holdings joint venture, began in October 2008 and took exactly a year to complete. It is one of several projects that the JDA is developing in the area around Soccer City Stadium, the venue for the opening and final matches of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™.

From the Soccer City side, pedestrians encounter an amphitheatre that can accommodate about 500 people. nasrec1The easy access walkway The amphitheatre faces the giant stadium and its upper level is enhanced with lush grass and budding trees.”The idea is to use the amphitheatre and immediate area as a fan park where football fans can watch matches on a big screen,” says Gudlhuza.

There are also benches dotting the promenade, giving it a relaxing look. Red and dusty yellow paving bricks have been used heavily; Gudlhuza says this has been done “to ensure the promenade complements the colour of the calabash [of the stadium]”.

“The promenade has quite interesting lighting, similar to that of stadium lighting. The lights give off lighting in the shape of flames at night. We want to give the promenade the same feel as the ring of fire.”

The “ring of fire”, the name of the outer, raised podium on which the calabash design of Soccer City Stadium sits, is where turnstiles and ticket booths are located. On top of the “ring of fire” is located the “pit of fire”, where the calabash rests.

Built into the promenade lights are speakers for announcements relating to events taking place at the stadium. nasrec2The promenade also carries the feel of the ‘ring of fire’ The speakers spill over into the transport hub on the other side of the promenade. In the middle of the bridge, transparent safety glass has been built into the walkway, allowing pedestrians to watch the trains and buses below.

People crossing the bridge have a beautiful view of the 90 200-seat stadium. Standing in the middle of the walkway, one has an uninterrupted view of Soccer City, with the Johannesburg skyline and the famous Telkom Tower forming a postcard background.

There is also a good view of the IBC, where thousands of broadcasters from around the world will be based during the football tournament. The IBC is set to be opened on 16 April.

The pedestrian promenade is part of the greater Nasrec precinct, which features new roads, landscaping and public amenities. On its western edge, a new, one-way road known as the Golden Highway is almost complete, linking Lanbou Road to the Soweto Highway.

Story: City of Johannesburg