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Sandton Central infrastructure gets a big boost with Bus Rapid Transit system

There’ll be yet another great way to get into and around Sandton Central soon. Expanding its Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, The City of Joburg will bring Rea Vaya’s fast, convenient and affordable bus service to Sandton Central within the next two years.

Boosting all modes of transport and easing traffic flows, the project is also adding improvements to infrastructure in Sandton Central. It adds new bridges, widens main roads, upgrades pavements and signage, improves street lights and signals, and introduces cycling and walking facilities.

Elaine Jack, City Improvement District Manager of the Sandton Central Management District, which manages its public urban spaces, says: “As the country’s financial hub, Sandton Central attracts many people each day for business, tourism, shopping and pleasure. People come from around the city and beyond. The infrastructure improvement to roads, pavements and public transport the BRT introduces supports Sandton Central’s position at the forefront of well-managed central business districts.”

Started in 2009, Rea Vaya already operates between areas such as Parktown, Doornfontein and Soweto. Sandton Central will join this popular service designed to link areas around the city that were previously poorly connected, creating ‘Corridors of Freedom’.

City of Johannesburg Executive Mayor, Councillor Parks Tau describes the Rea Vaya BRT as the backbone of the Corridors of Freedom – a programme he refers to as an initiative that is set to transform the spatial design of the metropolitan municipality into an inclusive, resilient, as well as a liveable and sustainable urban environment.

“The Corridors of Freedom is an antithesis to the apartheid spatial form, which is set to birth a fundamentally different society to the one a democratic South Africa inherited in 1994. Having the Rea Vaya BRT in Sandton is certainly a step in the right direction to building an inclusive city,” Mayor Tau says.

Sandton Central is a key destination in R3 billion Phase 1C of Rea Vaya, which began construction in 2014. This phase is expected to add 245 new buses to the 277-bus fleet that Rea Vaya already offers.

The phase comprises 16km of dedicated trunk route that, extends Rea Vaya’s route from Parktown to Alexandra and on to Sandton and beyond, with further complementary and feeder routes to and from areas including Sunninghill, Midrand and Ivory Park.

The first 12.6kms of new trunk route connects to the existing Rea Vaya’s service at Empire and Victoria Avenues. It continues along Empire and Clarendon Roads, and traverses Louis Botha Avenue which becomes Pretoria Main Road, until its intersection with Lees Street in Wynberg.

The next adjoining 4km section runs from Alexandra to Sandton, from the corner of Pretoria Main Road and Lees Street, crossing the M1 Highway to Katherine Drive into West Street and to Sandton Gautrain Station.

Future plans for the phase include joining the trunk route to Rosebank, Greenstone, Ivory Park, Rabie Ridge and Midrand.

Ensuring Sandton is more accessible than ever before, the project adds two new bridges across the M1 Highway – one for BRT buses and pedestrians, the other for cyclists and pedestrians.

It also includes widening Sandspruit Bridge – the gateway to Sandton Central on Katherine Street, between Marlboro and Grayston Drives. The bridge is being completely rebuilt and expanded from two lanes to six lanes, with the two centre lanes reserved for the BRT. This multimillion Rand project will be ready in September 2016, bringing relief to current traffic bottlenecks.

The new Rea Vaya infrastructure also features 30.5km of walking and cycling paths and a dedicated cycle and walking path from Alexandra to Sandton.

The Rea Vaya system also creates interchanges that link with other modes of transport, such as Metrobus, and minibus and metered taxis, as well as walking and cycling. Phase 1 C includes a number of interchanges including in Sandton Central, Alexandra and the CBD.

The Sandton Central interchange creates a new transport system that also includes the Gautrain.

Rea Vaya will have at least two stations in Sandton Central. Making it easier to get around Sandton Central, and passengers will be able to get on and off buses along the public transport loop, with dedicated kerbside bus lanes. There will be several stops along the route, which begins at the Katherine Drive Rea Vaya median station, turns right into West Street, then right into Rivonia Road, and proceeds left into

Fredman Drive, then left into Fifth Street and left and to the Rivonia Road Rea Vaya station beside the Sandton Gautrain Station.

“With Rea Vaya, the City of Joburg is adding to the transport modes in Sandton Central and improving those already in place,” says Jack.