The government has allocated R9-billion to the Public Transport Infrastructure and Systems Fund to improve public transport infrastructure.

The initial focus will be on projects that will support the successful hosting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

According to a Department of Transport (DoT) document on transport sector preparations in support of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, R241,7-million and R700-million were transferred to municipalities and State-owned enterprises (in 2005/6 and 2006/7 respectively. An amount of R1,8-billion will be transferred during the 2007/8 financial year and R3,5-billion and R3-billion have been set aside for 2008/9 and 2009/10.

DoT project manager for the 2010 soccer World Cup Mathabatha Mokonyama says the department is currently working on an initial transport operational plan that includes a demand-management model for 2010.

“This, we hope, will clarify the demand so that we can firm our assumptions regarding the current as well as additional required capacities on the supply side,” he says.

“We are also finalising a 2010 bus/coach strategy that will inform the deployment (during the event and beyond) of the extra luxury coaches that the DoT intends acquiring to augment the current capacity.”

The DoT document says stations in host cities Johannesburg, Tshwane, Durban, Cape Town and Nelson Mandela Bay will be upgraded and new ones built. A rail service will be provided for Soccer City and Ellis Park, and improvements will be made in signalling and communications, as well as in passenger information services.

Crossover bridges and improved access will be provided throughout all regions and railway police contact points will be established throughout the country.

Upgrades and operational improvements, including crowd control, platform facilities, park-and-ride facilities at stations and training venues, fan festival parks and big-screen viewing sites will be provided countrywide.

In addition, about 2 000 railway coaches will be refurbished by 2010.

The expansion and tolling of the N1, M1, N1 South, R24, R21 and N3 is expected to cost R15-billion. This is part of the Gauteng freeway scheme, and will be completed by 2010 and will enhance traffic management in Gauteng through dedicated high-occupancy vehicle and public transport lanes and shoulder lanes to relieve traffic congestion.

The transport document says the initial allocation was done during the current year and that government is busy with the detailed designs. The Gauteng highway-improvement plan was submitted to Cabinet in early July.

Cabinet supported the scheme in principle and further details on implementation will be made by the Minister of Transport shortly.

Future proposals include the PWV9 highway, from Johannesburg North to eastern Tshwane, and the East–West Bypass through Oliphantsfontein, in Midrand.

On the aviation side, Airports Company South Africa has put aside R19,6-billion for airport development, subject to permission from the regulator. The OR Tambo International Airport master plan is currently being fin-alised.

The sod-turning ceremony for La Mercy Airport, in KwaZulu-Natal, took place last month and construction is due to start shortly. The existing Durban Airport will be decommissioned and La Mercy Airport will be commissioned in 2009/10.

Expansions are currently under way at OR Tambo International Airport and Cape Town International Airport.

Passenger movements and operational plans will be finalised in January 2008, subject to the match schedule announcement in November. A comprehensive analysis and capacity study for domestic aviation requirements will be performed in March next year.

In addition, an airlift strategy will be implemented by March 2009. All the South African airlines engaged have indicated that they will be able to expand their capa-city as required.

The DoT has appointed service providers to develop an operational model for the acquisition and opera-tion of buses during the 2010 soccer World Cup.

Tshwane, Johannesburg, Cape Town and Nelson Mandela Bay are all at an advanced stage of finalising their bus rapid transit (BRT) operational plans. Johannesburg has completed about 90% of its detailed planning, while Tshwane has launched its BRT project and is currently finalising routes and its business case.

Significant progress has also been achieved in the scrapping of old taxis, with 9 200 vehicles having been scrapped by the end of August. The 2010 target is to ensure that 80% of the current 97 000-vehicle fleet are scrapped and replaced with new taxi vehicles.

The current rate of scrapping is 1 600 a month and may reach 2 000 a month by the end of this year. New taxi vehicles are available but the manufacturers have committed themselves to increasing production from January 2008, the effective date for full compliance with the final safety requirement of September 2006.

The DoT says the transport sector is more than prepared to support the 2010 FIFA world Cup .

“The focus thus far has been on infrastructure planning and develop- ment. From 2007 onwards, the focus shifts to operational plans.”

PUBLICATION: Engineering News
AUTHOR: Margie Inggs
DATED: 5th October 2007