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The City of Johannesburg is to spend more than R365-million this financial year alone to reconstruct, rehabilitate and maintain freeways, roads and streets as part of its R110-billion multi-year infrastructure investment programme.

Some of the motorways earmarked for the massive makeover include the Soweto Freeway, and the M1 and M2 highways.

Announcing the major road infrastructure upgrades at the Turbine Hall on Thursday August 6, Johannesburg Executive Mayor Councillor Parks Tau said this was part of the City’s efforts to “create a better future for our residents, enabling us to link jobs to people and people to jobs in line with the objectives of our spatial transformation programme – the Corridors of Freedom”.

In 2013, Mayor Tau announced that the City would spend R2-billion on the rebuilding and fixing of road infrastructure to alleviate traffic congestion, lower the cost of doing business in the city and attract investment. Some of the work has already started.

The projects are being undertaken by the Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA) – the City’s roads infrastructure and maintenance entity – to ease congestion, redesign apartheid-led development to be more accommodating, and redirect traffic flow in and out of the city to increase mobility and stimulate commerce. As a result of the increasingly high traffic volumes over the years, many of the roads and bridges are badly in need of reconstruction.

Some of the city’s ageing bridges, and those damaged during recent flooding, will also be rebuilt at a total cost of R152-million. Three bridges in Soweto – Leselinyana-Kinini, Nxumalo and Zulu Mahalefele – are being upgraded at a combined cost of R100-million. Work on the three bridges is expected to result in road closures in the township and JRA’s acting Managing Director, Mpho Kau, has urged residents to exercise restraint.

“Motorists should please bear with us during construction as this is all part of a plan to make the City better and brighter. Congestions will be a thing of the past once all the rehabilitative work has been undertaken,” Kau said.

The agency will also undertake maintenance work on storm water infrastructure, culverts, traffic lights and signage.