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Upgrades planned for busy roads
03 July 2007

Billions of rand have been set aside for a wide-ranging project to improve the road network across the province, with highways leading to Joburg getting the lion's share.

 

The provincial government will spend some R22-billion upgrading freeways in the province
The provincial government will spend some R22-billion upgrading freeways in the province

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OME of Joburg's busiest roads are to get a much-needed facelift, as part of the Gauteng government's Provincial Freeway Improvement Scheme - and it has earmarked more than R22-billion for the project.

The overhaul involves over 500 kilometres of road, including the Ben Schoeman highway on the N1 linking Pretoria and Joburg; some of the roads in Nasrec that link the N17 and northern Soweto; the N1 ring road around Johannesburg to the Golden Highway; and the N1 from the R21 split to the Buccleuch interchange.

It is set to be completed in seven years and will be spearheaded by the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral), the provincial government, the City of Johannesburg and others metros.

Another lane in each direction is on the cards for the Ben Schoeman highway, arguably the busiest road in the country, with two other lanes to be added to the R21 highway.

According to Sanral, part of the planned expenditure encompasses a new electronic billing system that will be used to toll every highway linked to the city - a process to be implemented by 2010.

Toll fees
This means motorists will pay 30 cents a kilometre and R5 in toll levies to travel between Tshwane and Joburg. With the new billing system, which will work with automatic licence recognition cameras that will eventually feed information into the electronic national traffic information system, motorists will be able to pay their toll fees in advance or wait for their bills to be posted to them. There will be toll points at Centurion, in Tshwane, and Sandton, in northern Joburg.

In addition, about R14-billion has been set aside for new roads, to be built between 2010 and 2013.

"The Provincial Freeway Improvement Scheme also promotes Gauteng as a global city region," said the MEC for public transport, roads and works, Ignatius Jacobs.

Transport infrastructure was an important element of a global city region. The scheme was designed to link historically marginalised townships and settlements on the urban periphery with economic hubs like Joburg, he added.

"[We want to] develop a network system that will expand existing roads and freeways and build new roads towards facilitating economic node connections and public transport corridors."

The provincial government's transport budget included the construction of new roads and the maintenance of existing ones, "thus covering the transport infrastructure needs in respect of the 2010 Fifa World Cup™".

A major challenge for the province was setting up a transport infrastructure and system that would support its envisaged economic growth and meet the needs of the majority of Gauteng residents, Jacobs explained.

Some of the road projects expected to be undertaken this year are the doubling of the road between Fourways and Diepsloot, completion of the link along Dobsonville Road between the K15 and Main Reef Road, and the construction of a dual carriageway between Protea Glen and Leratong, in Soweto.

Jacobs estimated that the construction of new roads would create more than 14 146 jobs, of which 4 244 would go to women, 2 122 to youngsters and 283 to disabled people.

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