The Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport is planning a new 35km long highway in the province.
“I would like to announce that the department is busy with the initial planning to build the 35km long PWV15 to support the development of an Aerotropolis at the OR Tambo International Airport,” said MEC for Gauteng Roads and Transport Ismail Vadi during his budget speech.
According to the MEC, the construction of the PWV15 must be seen as a strategic project because it will have a multiplier effect on the Eastern Corridor.
Apart from alleviating traffic congestion on the existing road network, it will accelerate the development of the Aerotropolis and enhance the adjacent land value along the route for housing, industrial and commercial development.
“There is a growing need to build new freeways in Gauteng. The last time a highway was built in our province was in 1982. In spite of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project led by SANRAL, our freeways – particularly during peak hours – are congested and at times gridlocked,” said Vadi.
The 25-Year Integrated Transport Master Plan projected that Gauteng’s car population will increase from 3.5 million in 2011 to 6.5 million by 2037. To date the province has a car population of 4.5 million vehicles. The increasing number of cars, and the consequent traffic congestion, comes at huge social and economic costs to people who spend many unproductive hours trapped in traffic congestion.
“It contributes to the high cost of doing business in Gauteng. It is this costly reality that we must address more urgently.”
The PWV15 would serve as a catalyst to modernise the road network in the Eastern corridor. It has the potential to unlock economic opportunities through the revitalisation of the manufacturing sector in Ekurhuleni, allow for the free flow of freight traffic from the N3 to the N1 freeways, and greatly relieve traffic pressure at the Gillooly’s Interchange.
“What is needed now is for all of us to have a sensible, rational and pragmatic conversation about how this new, mega road project is to be funded,” said Vadi.
Budget promotes infrastructure-led growth
According to Vadi, the 2016/17 Gauteng roads and transport budget promotes “an infrastructure-led growth path”, with R2.5 billion has been earmarked for transport infrastructure.
“As an important component of the economic cluster, the department is at the frontline of rolling out road and transport infrastructure to stimulate economic growth and create jobs. This is absolutely necessary at a time when the national and provincial economy is lethargic in its performance.”
According to Vadi, the department prioritises the maintenance and expansion of the road network because it is an enabler of broader economic growth, job creation and the empowerment of small and medium enterprises.
“We invest in public transport infrastructure as we believe that we need to promote a shift from private to public transport. We see rail as the backbone of our public transport system supported by the bus rapid transit networks in metropolitan municipalities. And we are of the view that the taxi industry should be corporatised, professionalised and integrated into the broader public transport system in our province.”
The MEC cited several successfully completed major road rehabilitation projects which took place over the last year.
The N12 freeway project from the south of Johannesburg to the North West boundary valued at over R500 million has been completed.
Phase 2 of the R82 valued at R259 million was officially opened last week and the R511 from Erasmia to Diepsloot was officially opened last month.
Work on the major rehabilitation of the N14 freeway is progressing very well. The triple carriageway along William Nicol Drive was completed and the next phase has been launched.
Later this year the department will put out an open tender for Phase 3 of the R82/Old Vereeniging Road.
It will also implement road expansion projects to support the Pick and Pay Freight and Logistics Park near Zandspruit; the expansion of the road networks to support the Waterfall City and the River City Developments in Johannesburg and Emfuleni respectively.