On average, the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) is around 33% completed, said South African National Roads Agency Limited project manager Alex van Niekerk during a site visit on Wednesday.

He noted, though, that some projects were further advanced, with those which broke ground only recently below this percentage.

The R21 airport freeway should, for example, be completed in time for the kickoff of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in June. This four-lane freeway was being expanded to an eight-lane freeway.

The R15,1-billion first phase of the GFIP aims to upgrade 185 km of freeway network in Gauteng, through, for example, improved lighting and the widening of freeways by adding new lanes.

Further phases would include 223 km of upgrades, and new roads of 158 km.

The final GFIP would encompass 561 km, said Van Niekerk.

Construction on the GFIP started in June 2008 and will be completed in 2011.

Van Niekerk said Gauteng’s freeway network had to be improved as traffic congestion had worsened significantly over recent years.

For example, traffic numbers had increased by 94% at the Allandale interchange in Midrand from 1991 to 2004, and 110% at the Atterbury interchange in Pretoria.

Van Niekerk added that tolling was set to start in the first quarter of 2011.

Tolling was the method used to fund the GFIP.

Van Niekerk said the toll fee was currently still set at 50c/km, but noted that inflation had probably impacted on this already.

He noted that discount would be offered to regular users, using a sliding scale.

Van Niekerk explained that this meant that a commuter would pay the full fee for the first ten trips, for example, with costs then reducing in a step-by-step fashion the further the commuter travelled.

PUBLICATION: Engineering News
AUTHOR: Irma Venter
DATED: 23rd September 2009