24/03/2014. Church Square in Pretoria which is going to be closed to traffic on monday. Picture: Oupa Mokoena

Pretoria - Driving around the city’s historic Church Square is prohibited from today, 24 March . Initially the roads will be closed to allow the City of Tshwane to start constructing the A Re Yeng infrastructure around Church Square.

During the construction period, the Square will be closed to all types of vehicle traffic.

After completion of construction, traffic will remain barred from Church Square, with only A Re Yeng buses, property owners, their employees and visitors, delivery trucks, emergency vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians being allowed access to the Square.

There will be limited parking along Bank and Parliament streets.

Traffic will be stopped at the corner of Paul Kruger and Madiba streets as well as at the corner of Paul Kruger and Pretorius streets.

Access to businesses located in the area will be through Bank and Parliament streets.

Bank Street will become a one-way route for traffic from the north to the south, while Parliament Street will become a one-way for traffic from the south to the north.

Motorists have been urged to adhere to the traffic signage around the construction area. Only pedestrians will be granted access to the square.

City spokesman Selby Bokaba said no firm completion date for the construction could be given, due to the likelihood of uncovering underground heritage elements such as tram lines and furrows, which could delay construction.

“In the event that heritage elements are unearthed they will have to be recorded and preserved.”

Early in 2014 old tram lines, which could date back more than a century, were found buried underground on Church Square by construction workers excavating in preparation for Bus Rapid Transit construction.

The find could prove not only to be a rich link with the history of the city, but also a missing part of South Africa’s story. Pretoria adopted trams as its main mode of public transport in 1910.

The present construction forms part of the route that will connect the inner city with Rainbow Junction (Wonderboom Station) in the north of the capital, through Paul Kruger Street and Mansfield Avenue.

The first phase of the project will include 68km of dedicated median bus lanes, 52 stations, three depots and four terminuses.

It will comprise Line 1, connecting Mabopane and Soshanguve with the inner city via the R80 Freeway and DF Malan Drive, while line 2 will link the inner city with Mamelodi via Walker Street, University Road, Lynnwood Road, Atterbury Road and Route K69.

Phase 1, the inception phase of A Re Yeng was due to go live in April 2014 but delays in marketing, training, acquiring of buses, control-room operation, recruitment of staff, tests and dry-runs as well as integration with taxis, Gautrain and Tshwane Bus Service made it impossible to meet the deadline.

The city’s progress report also stated that tenders for key components such as the control centre, station management and automated fare collection were still being finalised.

Pretoria News