Rea Vaya reaches out towards Sandton

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IOL mot pic apr23 ST_main Rea Vaya664 INLSA Johannesburg mayor Parks Tau, second from right, walks alongside Gauteng MEC for Transport Ismail Vadi as they are joined by a City of Johannesburg team at the launch of a pedestrian bridge in Alexandra. Picture: Sharon Seretlo

Johannesburg - A traffic and transport study is being undertaken by the Sandton central business district and the City of Johannesburg to ensure development of the area as a hub can be sustained.

This was announced on Tuesday at the launch of the construction phase of the Rea Vaya bus rapid transit system, which will connect the inner city to Alexandra and Sandton.

The study is being done because office and residential development is happening at a great pace in Sandton, which is quickly consolidating its position not only as the financial heartland of greater Johannesburg, but also the preferred location for corporates.

The node continues to reap the benefits of the Gautrain, which provides connectivity to both OR Tambo International Airport and greater Gauteng.

IMPROVING THE INFRASTRUCTURE

The study will recommend plans to guide city and private sector investment projects and will propose public transport as the main mode of transport in and to the precinct, with improved infrastructure that will support pedestrian and cycle movements.

The city’s transport department recently appointed a service provider to look at the feasibility of a complete street network for about 20km linking Rosebank with Sandton, with extensions to Melrose Arch and Parkview.

All studies should be completed by June, except for the feasibility study, which will be finished in the next financial year.

Rea Vaya construction is expected to begin in Sandton in 2015.

Johannesburg mayor Parks Tau on Tuesday unveiled a construction board on the corner of Rivonia Road and Fifth Street, next to the Gautrain station, announcing the start of the Rea Vaya project.

The construction programme will include a new bridge over the M1, a new public transport interchange at Watt Street in Alexandra, a dedicated walk and cycle way from No 3 Square in Alexandra to Sandton Square, as well as a second new bridge over the M1 at a later stage.

In Alexandra, 30km of sidewalks for walking and cycling will be upgraded and improved, while traffic-calming measures and street furniture along the Rea Vaya and feeder routes will also be introduced.

A new bus depot will be built on Vincent Tshabalala Road.

Tau also officially reopened a pedestrian bridge on 21st Avenue in Alexandra.

He promised there would be work opportunities for the people of Alexandra.

This follows threats by local businesses and residents to stop construction work along Louis Botha Avenue because they had not been given jobs.

“We are a city bound by statutes.”

Tau said: “We have to award tenders in accordance with regulations and we have specifications about the number of jobs which have to be awarded to local people.

“But it will not help if people make threats to stop the work. The work we are doing is for the benefit of the community.”

City of Johannesburg mayoral committee member for transport Christine Walters said the launch of the latest phase of the Rea Vaya project “signals a further milestone in the successful implementation and rollout of a world-class bus system which comprises roadworks, stations and bus depots”.

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