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Monday Oct 27, 2014

Pretoria traffic woes to stay for a while

Traffic congestion in the city centre is not about to go away just yet. "Operation Reclaim" - the City of Tshwane's ambitious plan to promote free pedestrian movement on pavements - appears to be nearing completion, but the municipality can still not clarify when the first phase will be completed.

Construction workers work on the widened pavement of Madiba Street as part of 'Operation Reclaim'.

Spokesman Lindela Mashigo said construction of the wider pedestrian pavements was steaming ahead and all efforts were being made to reduce traffic congestion and frustrations.

Motorists's frustrations were understandable and the city wished to apologise for the inconvenience caused to date.

"It has not been an easy project taking into account the traffic and pedestrian volumes involved.

"We trust that residents will soon experience the benefits to follow once this project is completed."

Phase one entails "Operation Reclaim", including the upgrading of Thabo Sehume Street between Madiba and Pretorius streets; Madiba Street between Thabo Sehume and Lilian Ngoyi streets; and Pretorius Street between Lilian Ngoyi and Thabo Sehume streets.

Traffic congestion has been extreme along these roads as a result of the work dragging on for more than a year.

The excavations are slowly being filled up and the road surface reinstated, but dealing with the granite kerb - protected in terms of heritage legislation - meant the job had to be done with extra care.

Serious construction delays have been experienced due to, among others, numerous water, electricity and other services which first had to be relocated.

The levelling of uneven paving bricks is also likely to delay construction as some of them will have to be redone. New litter bins on the pavements have been designed to be impossible to lift and used as missiles during mass protests. The new underground pipes and cables have now been given a life of between 15 and 20 years. These include water pipes, electricity cables, communication infrastructure and CCTV camera cables that were originally overhead.

There will be four lanes on Madiba Street once the project has been completed.

The new wider pavements - strictly reserved for pedestrians - will sport a red mark to guide the disabled and there will be limited parking on one side of the road. The kerb will be levelled for smooth wheelchair access.

On the pavements will be two sets of lights on each mast - one for the street and the second facing the pavements.

Parking on the "Operation Reclaim" roads will be free, but this could change in future when the bylaws come into effect.

An equal number of lanes will be on Thabo Sehume Street, but reduced to three during afternoon peak hour traffic when the far-left lane reserved for buses.

Pretorius Street will have four lanes with parking and loading bays on both sides.

Stormwater management on all three roads meant the pavement could not be as wide as originally envisaged.

Contractors for the R9 million, R13m and R10m projects are Mologadi A Nape, Primat-Kafela Joint Venture and Homeless Building Contractors.

Two contracts valued at R2m were awarded for relocation of the water infrastructure, with R8m for professional working on the entire project.

An extension of the project to Du Toit, Sisulu and Lillian Ngoyi streets has been approved, but no budget has yet been allocated.

Pretoria News


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