Building sites are blossoming all over Cape Town as infrastructure for the 2010 soccer World Cup gets on track and all but one of the major projects planned will be completed in good time.

The sole exception may be the rail link between the airport and the CBD. The South African Rail Commuter Corporation has set aside R850-million for the 4km link and it is procuring services before construction can begin.

Construction sites are busy, cranes dot the skyline, new hotels are going up, and work has started on better roads and upgraded stadiums.

Cape Town will host eight matches including a semi-final, and is gearing itself up for tourists before, during and after the tournament.

All roads will lead to the Green Point Stadium, which could soon get a new name. The stadium is the anchor for the entire 2010 provincial and city plan, which includes upgraded public transport, improved roads, pedestrian friendly walkways, increased emergency services and upgraded stadiums.

Eight hotels are being built in the city, which will supplement the existing 90 500 hotel beds in a two-hour radius of the stadium.

The safety and security plan includes hi-tech operation centres, additional staff, and a beefed up flying squad.

Plans are also under way to attract national soccer teams to make the Western Cape their home base for the duration of the World Cup, which kicks off in 650 days.

The provincial 2010 co-ordinator, Dr Laurine Platzky, said on Friday most of the projects were on track and people could see progress in the road works, such as Hospital Bend, and in the stadium works.

“We are working hard to not only deliver a fantastic event, but to improve public transport for all beyond 2010,” she said.

Platzky said work on the airport was on track, as was upgrading the Cape Town station.

City 2010 spokesperson Pieter Cronje said the stadium was 40 percent complete and was waiting for the components of the roof to arrive from Kuwait, Germany and Johannesburg.

The official fan park on the Grand Parade is also being built.

“The city is aware of eight new hotels, including the Taj, 15 on Orange, the Express Holiday Inn, the One&Only and two more in the Waterfront, which will be completed in time for the World Cup,” Cronje said.

Work will shortly start on a 2,4km pedestrian walkway from Cape Town station via the Waterfront to the stadium.

Work is also expected to start on lifting the Granger Bay circle near the stadium and its approach roads to provide a safe passage for pedestrians below.

Contractors have started working on upgrading the Philippi stadium, which will be a practice venue, and the nearby railway station, which is expected to become the second busiest station after Cape Town. Work is also continuing on the Athlone stadium, which will also be a practice venue for visiting teams.

Public transport has been identified as a legacy project and residents have been promised more trains, stations, rapid bus systems and easing congestion on roads like Hospital Bend and the Koeberg Interchange.

Plans for a bus rapid transit system from the airport into the city will be implemented soon.

The provincial government will soon start work on widening the N2 between the railway bridge at the foot of Sir Lowry’s Pass and the railway bridge to the golf course.

The bridge on the N2, which crosses the Knysna lagoon, will be rehabilitated and widened in places to ease traffic passing through Knysna.

The city’s 2010 co-ordinator Teral Cullen said benefits from the World Cup would include nine new fire engines, an increase in traffic and emergency vehicles, and additional posts in the city’s emergency call centre.

AUTHOR: Lynnette Johns
DATED: 30th August 2008