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The City of Cape Town announced plans to combat traffic congestion in Cape Town by investing in a R481 million traffic-relief construction project.

This comes after the City’s draft budget for the 2018/2019 year was submitted at Council last week. 

The City’s traffic congestion remains an increasing nightmare for motorists. 

Just last year, Cape Town was named the most congested city, according to the TomTom Traffic Index 2017 which measures congestion on the road of 390 countries around the world. 

The City of Cape Town told Business Report that the city will be investing in the construction and maintenance of new and existing roads. 

The City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Transport and Urban Development, Councillor Brett Herron said that they have earmarked projects for the next three years. 

“Infrastructure-related projects are time-consuming and complex. The majority of these projects take place over a period of at least three years and are similarly costed. As such, the draft budget for the next three financial years gives one a better indication and a more comprehensive overview of what is being planned in terms of infrastructure-related projects”, said Herron. 

Herron said that TDA will spend a proposed R232 million over the next three financial years to rehabilitate and reconstruct roads across the city. 

A further R369 million will be spent to rehabilitate existing concrete roads in Hanover Park, Heideveld, Gugulethu, Bonteheuwel and Bishop Lavis. 

Meanwhile, a further R327 million will be spent on facilities for pedestrians and other non-motorised transport users. These upgrades will be implemented from 2018/2019 until 2020/2021. 

As far as traffic congestion is concerned, Herron said that the TDA has allocated R481 million over the next three financial years. This will be spent on the construction of new road infrastructure. Herron said that some of the projects are already underway which include the dualling of Kommetjie Road in the Far South; Belhar Main Road and Erica Drive in Belhar, and Langverwacht Road in Kuils River.

Construction company, Martin & East will be responsible for the Kommetjie Road Project, said Herron. The project has already commenced in October 2016 and is expected to be completed within the next 18 to 24 months. 

“The reconstruction of a 1,35 km section of Langverwacht Road, between Amandel and Zevenwacht Link roads in Durbanville, into a dual carriageway commenced in February 2018 and is envisioned to take 24 months to complete, pending any unforeseen delays.The environmental impact assessment for the dualling of Erica Drive in Belhar is underway. The commencement of this project is subject to the relevant environmental authorisations. The construction contract has not been finalised as yet.The construction of Main Road in Belhar is imminent, and will commence once the contract has been finalised. The project duration is approximately 24 months, pending any unforeseen delays”, said Herron. 

When asked whether these projects will effectively ease traffic congestion, Herron said that there is a need for a multi-pronged approach. He added that this project alone will not solve this challenge in the long term. 

“Apart from providing new road infrastructure, we must address the ailing commuter rail service as most commuters in Cape Town rely on rail to get to and from work; and commuters will have to change their commuter patterns. Thus, in answering your question: we cannot solve congestion by building more roads. 

“Commuters must make use of public transport as far as possible and where these services are available. Employers can assist by introducing flexi-working hours and remote working for employees where possible and practical so that we have less commuters on our roads during the peak hour traffic periods.”

Herron said that the City is in the process of implementing flexi working hours and remote working arrangements for employees. The City has also engaged with the Western Cape Provincial Government to do the same. In addition, the City worked with a small group of private employers on a pilot project. 

The City plans to engage more widely with other big employers once they have fully implemented the strategy within their organisation. 

Herron then urged more people to utilise public transport services. 

“The City’s Transport and Urban Development Authority is spending R750 million on road infrastructure projects over a period of five years to address congestion in Kommetjie, Kuils River and Blaauwberg. 

“However, building new roads alone will not solve this challenge in the long term. Experience the world over has proven that new road capacity is usually taken up within a matter of months and that construction cannot stay ahead of the growing demand due to rapid urbanisation”, concluded Herron.