Long-overlooked suburbs along Louis Botha Avenue are set for a major revamp as construction of the new bus rapid transit (BRT) route from the Joburg CBD to Alexandra starts next week.
It is predicted that the new bus route will lead to the extensive revitalisation and regeneration of areas such as Hillbrow, Berea, Yeoville, Orange Grove, Alexandra, Marlboro and Wynberg.
The tenders were finalised and construction work was due to start next week, said ward councillor Marcelle Ravid.
Four different tenders have been awarded for the route, and work will start simultaneously on all routes.
“Initially, construction work will take place only at night, to minimise traffic congestion along the busy taxi route, but there will be disruptions and it will be difficult,” she said.
The council is also planning an upgrade of the Paterson Park Recreation Centre, which will include a new park, library and swimming pool.
“There is to be a large investment by the city in the recreation centre and sports fields, which have been neglected for many years,” Ravid said.
The first stage of this project is the renovation and upgrade of the park, which is to begin soon.
The council has acknow-ledged that the existing facilities won’t be able to cater for the expected increase in the number of people residing along the Louis Botha corridor with the introduction of the new BRT route.
The tender for the sale of the old swimming pool area was due to have been awarded last Friday.
“We will soon see a beautiful new residential suburb being built and I am thrilled that this whole area will be revitalised, which should lead to the regeneration of the other areas along the route, including parts of Hillbrow, Berea and Yeoville.
“Many of the buildings along the Louis Botha Avenue route are old and dilapidated. This gives people the opportunity to upgrade their properties. Business opportunity will also increase within at least a 500m radius, and property values will go up,” she added.
A link from Wynberg to the Sandton CBD will follow in the next phase.
The phase 1C plan includes the construction of multi-modal interchanges at Westgate and Pan Africa in Alexandra, to enable passengers to transfer between the Gautrain, Prasa rail, Metrobus, minibus and metered taxis.
At the same time as the construction of dedicated bus routes, the council announced there would be a significant upgrading of roads and pathways for cycling and walking, especially in Alexandra, Wynberg and Marlboro.
Joburg mayor Parks Tau said that through the new “corridors of freedom”, the city would be able to “reverse apartheid spatial planning and reduce unemployment”.