As the Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA) – the City of Johannesburg’s roads and storm water infrastructure development and maintenance entity – gears up for the second phase of the rehabilitation of three bridges on the M1 freeway this month, motorists and other road users have been urged to use public transport or explore alternative routes to ease traffic congestion.
The call was made by Member of the Mayoral Committee for Transport Councillor Christine Walters and acting JRA Managing Director Mpho Kau during a media briefing on the next phase of the multimillion rand project yesterday (Thursday February 18).
They both called on motorists to plan their trips at least 30 minutes in advance, use alternative routes or public transport provided by Metrobus, Rea Vaya bus rapid transit (BRT) system, Metrorail and Gautrain as well as taxis.
“The perception that taxis are for blacks or poor people must be done away with. Taxis are safe. They transport 72% of commuters. We cannot continue the culture of [using] cars [because] they destroy our planet,” MMC Walters said.
Work on the iconic double decker section of the M1 – between Carr and Anderson streets – will include rehabilitation and structural repairs, asphalt surfacing, expansion joints, drainage systems and new road signs.
The Federation and Oxford bridges will also undergo a major facelift. A 2km section of dual carriageway between Rockridge and Federation Roads is being rehabilitated. The projects will cost R120-million and R90-million respectively. Although the construction will cause disruptions to traffic and delays, it will lead to significant long-term improvements to the City’s freeway network.
Cllr Walters said the freeway revitalisation project, which had the full support of Executive Mayor Cllr Parks Tau, formed part of the City’s R100-billion investment in strategic infrastructure over 10 years.
“A world-class City must be served by world-class infrastructure,” she said.
“The upgrades we are doing now will benefit Joburg for decades to come and ensure the safe movement of people, goods and services. Kau called on road users to familiarise themselves with the lane reductions, plan their journeys in advance and consider alternative routes.
“We’re proud to lead this investment of the City and confident that it will contribute to the quality of life of residents and the safety of all commuters who use our road network,” he said.
JRA’s Esther Schmidt said regular updates would be provided through several online platforms, including mobile apps. Detailed information would be available on the JRA website and print, electronic and social media. She encouraged members of the public to contact the entity with complaints, compliments and suggestions.
MMC Walters added: “We apologise in advance for disruptions and delays but also assure road users that we’re doing everything we can to minimise the inconvenience and ensure safe journeys for all.”
During the construction period certain changes will be made to:
- The northbound carriageway – carrying traffic from Soweto and the M2 – will be reduced to two lanes between the St Andrews and Killarney off-ramps from 29 February 2016 to 31 December 2016;
- The southbound carriageway – carrying traffic from Midrand – will be reduced to two lanes between the Killarney and St Andrews off-ramps from 3 April 2016 to 31 December 2016;
- The southern on-ramp from Oxford Road will be closed at Ettrick Road from 3 April 2016;
- The northbound Oxford Road off-ramp to be closed from 13 August 2016;
- Certain lanes on the double decker section will be closed until 6 July 2017 during weekdays between 9.30am-2.30pm. The construction will be halted during morning and afternoon peak hours and stepped up in the evenings and over weekends.
The JRA will continue to inform the public of latest developments, journey planning tips, alternative routes, and traffic advisories on their various contact points:
Facebook: Johannesburg Roads Agency
JRA Find&Fix mobile app