Fans attending the 2010 World Cup will move seamlessly between venues with none of the traffic congestion that currently blights South Africans.

As one of the legacy projects to give benefit to ordinary South Africans long after one of the world’s greatest spectacles has taken place here, transport infrastructure worth R160-billion should go a long way towards eliminating the days of trundling to work on congested highways.

Yesterday, Transport Minister Jeff Radebe, 2010 local organising committee CEO Danny Jordaan, Joburg mayor Amos Masondo and a host of other dignitaries took a tour of transport infrastructure upgrades around the city and their progress ahead of the World Cup.

Pivotal to the work under way in Joburg is the construction of the N17 Nasrec Link highway, which will give greater access to Soweto.

The R420-million project has been under way since September last year, with construction sites on both sides of the Soweto Highway.

When completed the highway will link Orlando stadium, which is likely to be a 2010 training venue; Soccer City, where the opening game and final of the Word Cup will be played; and, more importantly, Soweto to the N1.

Currently, residents from Soweto access the N1 via Diepkloof or Nasrec, among others.

Due to the many mineshafts dotted around the area, the project has been made increasingly arduous. At one point, close to Orlando stadium, R31-million of the budget will be allocated to a bridge to be built before it is pushed into place underneath the railway line in order not to disturb the commuter line.

Fifa general secretary Jerome Valcke was last week quoted as voicing concern over South Africa’s transport infrastructure. Radebe said his department was due to brief Fifa and the local organising committee on a comprehensive transport plan next month.

Thus far, R16-billion has been allocated to the upgrading and refurbishment of trains and the appointment of 2 000 railway police. By 2010 this number is set to reach 5 000.

The government will also add 500 buses to fleets across the country. Yesterday also saw the unveiling of the logo for the Bus Rapid Transit system, named Rea Vaya, which will initially stretch over 40km of greater Joburg by April next year, in time for the Confederations Cup.

AUTHOR: Beauregard Tromp
DATED: 14th May 2008