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Next time you walk around Milpark, you don’t have to dice with death running away from speeding motorists and taxi drivers.

This is after the Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA), on behalf of the City of Johannesburg, completed the design and construction of the Milpark pedestrian bridge at the end of 2019.

The bridge encourages and promotes safer pedestrian movement and connectivity, in particular connecting the Milpark precinct to the Rea Vaya Phase 2 trunk route.

The Milpark pedestrian bridge, which crosses Barry Hertzog Avenue, is situated in an area that encompasses a combination of land uses including retail, commercial offices, residential, health facilities, education, hotels, social facilities, public open space, and informal retail.

Traffic volumes on Empire Road, Barry Hertzog Avenue and Annet Road, in particular, acted as strong barriers that obstruct pedestrian movement, placing pedestrians at risk and creating poor pedestrian connectivity to peripheral institutional precincts such as Wits, University of Johannesburg and Milpark Hospital.

The scope work for the construction of the pedestrian bridge included the relocation of stormwater drainage, the establishing of the bridge deck, ramps and staircases, the installation of handrails, columns, footings, lights, and guardrails as well as environmental upgrades, including paving and kerbing.

Axton Matrix Construction was appointed as the main contractor for the construction of the bridge, which took eight months to complete. The construction played a role in job creation and skills development, with 30% of the contract value being awarded to SMMEs. Two emerging sub-contractors were appointed for the execution of the portions of the works in the infrastructure project and 15 local labourers were hired.

Construction of the Milpark pedestrian bridge is part of the Milpark Precinct Urban Design Framework, which forms part of the Empire Perth Corridor. The Milpark Precinct has been identified by the City of Johannesburg as one of the main precincts of the Empire Perth Corridor.

The Milpark Precinct Urban Design Framework was adopted as a vision for the precinct. New developments should build on the large institutional presence in the area (SABC, UJ, Wits University, Media24) and the high level of public transport accessibility. Substantial new development is envisaged for this precinct, the majority of which should ideally be high-rise buildings.