The Strategic Transport Planning Department has continued to fulfil the ETA’s statutory obligations in terms of the National Land Transport Act, developing comprehensive action plans, and preparing the Integrated Transport Strategy. In support of the National Department of Transport’s emphasis on finalising the National Land Transport Transition Act, the ETA has also been dedicated to providing input and guidance.
Highlights include the allocation of R 1.69 billion, made by the National Treasury for projects related to FIFA World Cup 2010 and the comprehensive FIFA World Cup 2010 Transport Plans that have been prepared; the project at the Warwick Junction / Modal Interchange continued, its aim to provide the infrastructure and space in the precinct that will aid in the operation of public transport, SMME Development, and pedestrian movement; and planning and implementation of the Inner City Distribution System continues, its goal to provide mobility and accessibility through public transport.
Multitask Teams have provided technical input to the development of framework and spatial plans for the North, South, and Western areas and the department has been part of the Port Master planning process where transport-mitigating measures have been introduced to address the growth of the Port. The Western Freeway Public Transport Lane, the first of its kind in eThekwini, was opened and will be monitored for opportunities to improve.
The department determined what effect tolling on the N2 will have on the city’s road network; prepared conceptual and detailed plans for the modal interchange at Bridge City as well as the rail link from Duffs Road to the proposed new station at Bridge City; and started development of the eThekwini Integrated Rapid Public Transport Network (IRPTN).
The Schools Road Safety Campaign continued; traffic-calming packages were installed at schools, and sidewalks were built along access routes; Adult Pedestrian Awareness initiatives were held, and campaigns to generate awareness of the dangers that exist when alighting, boarding, and travelling on buses and taxis, were carried out.
The department also maintained traffic statistics for major intersections and surveyed screen lines for over 600 intersections and screen-line points.
Achievements of the Public Transport Department include the awarding of the tender for the provision and implementation of a call centre facility which should be up and running early in 2009; the employment of staff members that are dedicated to the re-establishment of rank committees at all taxi ranks in the City; and continuation of the system of accrediting metered taxis.
Subsidy funding pressure for subsidised transport was relieved with the National Department of Transport providing an additional R 4, 2 million per month for the year; and approval was obtained for the execution of a feasibility study on the City purchasing the buses - the condition of buses can then be controlled through management of the maintenance contract with the original manufacturers.
New public transport ablutions were commissioned at the Crossroad and Queen Street Taxi Ranks and at the Verulam Bus Rank; and ablutions at the Pine Street Central Bus Rank and at the Pine Street at Grey Street, Anderson Road, Umdloti, Kwadengezi, La Lucia, and Chesterville Taxi Ranks were upgraded. Additional inspectors were employed this year to ensure that maintenance is undertaken to acceptable standards.
Members of the department continued to meet regularly with public transport operators to introduce, discuss, and resolve problem areas.
Road System Management
Activities and achievements of the Road System Management Department include continuation of the Walk to School Program; the near completion of the Westwood Commercial and Housing Estate with Arbour Town and Bridge City progressing rapidly; the taking shape of the Bridge City Development just north-west of KwaMashu, completion of the Hospital Road / Shongweni Road link; and the start of construction of a new interchange along the M41 to serve a new Umhlanga Ridge precinct.
Three key urban renewal projects were initiated; the planning and upgrade / construction of the Warwick Precinct, Beachfront Promenade, and the Stadium Precinct. All are in the advanced stages of planning and design.
In a joint effort with the South African National Roads Agency Limited, the upgrading of three key interchanges on the N2 is under construction with anticipated completion in December 2009.
Construction has started on the road network passing through the Warwick Precinct, which when complete, will greatly reduce the pressure of vehicles passing through this high volume pedestrian zone.
In addition to construction of the Khagela Bridge, design work to provide a further link southwards towards Solomon Mahlangu Drive is progressing.
The contract for the provision and administration of the parking control system is being expanded to other areas in the city; installation of the route marker system throughout the municipality was completed, and the department started with the replacement of street name boards for the approximately 100 streets for which names have been changed in the City.
The department continued to support traffic management plans for the annual festive season, and to assist with sporting and cultural events. Intensive planning and design work is in progress in preparation for the hosting of FIFA World Cup 2010 - the Traffic Operational plan, which deals with all transportation requirements including the transport of spectators to and from FIFA World Cup 2010 matches, is in the process of being prepared.
The contract for the erection of twelve variable message signs along the M4 between Durban International Airport and the Umhlanga CBD to display advice and information on incidents and hazards) is complete; the system is manually operational and full automation will follow; also, over 300 new controllers are now installed.