Gone are the days of repeatedly patching up potholes, says Joburg mayor Parks Tau who says the city has allocated R1.2bn to its roads agency to build new roads instead of constantly patching them up.
City of Johannesburg Mayor Parks Tau has announced major infrastructure upgrades for the city that include dedicated cycling lanes and free Wi-Fi Internet connections. Image: City of Jo'burg
Johannesburg commuters have for years suffered the many potholes that open up during the rainy season. The city's roads agency has struggled to cope with the high number of repairs to ageing road infrastructure.
Last month, the Johannesburg Roads Agency launched Find & Fix, a mobile application that is expected to lead to a quicker response to reports of potholes and faulty traffic lights.
In the latest budget, the city allocated more than R1bn for infrastructure upgrades in addition to the agency's R814m operating budget.
"The agenda, if you look at the JRA's budget, which has moved from slightly less than R400m into the billions will see much money being spent on ageing infrastructure," said Tau.
The city plans to create a commuter cycling community after years of lobbying and in an attempt to reduce the 3.6m cars on Gauteng's roads every day. Cycling lanes across the city are being built in areas that include Orange Farm, Alexandra, Diepsloot and Sandton.
The latest budget has made provision for four dedicated cycling lanes, the first of which is due for completion at the end of June.
This initial route, stretching 5.5km in Orlando, Soweto, will pass a number of schools and public spaces, including the Orlando Stadium, and will also see the addition of sidewalks in the area.
Work has also started on cycle routes for the Universities of Johannesburg and Witwatersrand, which stretches from the UJ campus in Kingsway, Auckland Park to Ellis Park Stadium in the Johannesburg central business district.
The route will pass Wits University, Park Station and UJ's Doornfontein Campus.
July will see the start of the 20km Ivory Park cycling route and the project is set for completion in June 2015. A further 20km route still in the design phase will stretch from Orange Farm towards the city. Construction is mooted for 2015.
The City of Johannesburg is also getting 'smart' with the roll-out of free Internet in parts of the city. With 900km of fibre-optic cables already laid throughout the city - from Orange Farm in the south to Diepsloot in the north - the city is setting up 1,000 Wi-Fi hot spots for travellers along these routes to stay connected.
Residents of Johannesburg will be allowed 300MB per device with a line speed of 10 megabits per second.
The bus rapid transit routes from Soweto to the Johannesburg CBD will receive priority in this regard. Other priority areas will include public libraries and parks.
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