An aerial view of the Riverfields bridge.
Situated to the north of OR Tambo International Airport (ORTIA), a mega development project is bringing employment and significant investment to the Aerotropolis – identified by the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality as a strategic priority investment area.
Riverfields is a mixed-use development across 1 900 hectares that has brought global brands, among others DHL, John Deere, Würth, Jonsson and DB Schenker, to state-of-the-art business and logistics parks barely 15 minutes drive away from ORTIA.
The underpass symbolises an important milestone in the Riverfields development, adding momentum to the realisation of a much larger development framework. While Riverfields is conveniently located along both sides of the Albertina Sisulu freeway (with prime exposure), this does mean that motorists, cyclists and pedestrians passing from one side of the development to the other – until now – had to use the overpass along the R23. This was an inconvenience – particularly for businesses located at the Plumbago Business Park and the Plumbago Logistics Park, as the freeway bisects these two parks. In response, Riverfields development has taken a proactive stance to improve access and mobility.
In a significant new development, Riverfields in association with JT Ross constructed the R80-million underpass that will result in convenient access between Riverfields east and west while
providing better connectivity between the two Plumbago parks. Although the construction of the project was privately funded, it required close coordination with authorities in particular
Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality and Sanral.
According to Lardus Erasmus from Riverfields Development Pty Ltd, “the underpass is unique as it incorporates cycle and pedestrian paths – part of a larger strategy of developing Riverfields as a forward-thinking ‘green’ city. To realise full integration and mobility we are in constant discussions with the authorities to upgrade and expand the road network – and thereby unlock future investment in other developments such as the regional shopping centre which will provide a major stimulus to employment creation in the region”.
The 100-meter underpass cost R80 million to construct (including infrastructure development and electrical components) and took 14 months to complete. On average 60 people were employed during the construction phase. VIP Consulting Engineers, AECOM, Civilcon, Pegasus Civil Engineering Contractors, CPE Consulting Engineers and Prokor were the contractors and engineers responsible for delivering the project.
The business and logistics parks form but one precinct of a much larger development. Riverfields has also secured rights for a regional shopping centre which will be at the heart of a mixed-use precinct, a neighbourhood shopping centre, residential developments meeting the needs across the housing market, social and institutional users as well as an extensive rehabilitated and conserved wetland system which will lie at the heart of community life.
Councillor Mondli Gungubele, Executive Mayor of the City of Ekurhuleni will officiate at the opening of the Riverfields underpass today at the Riverfields Boulevard, Plumbago Logistics Park in Riverfields.