Work is finally expected to begin today on the construction of a bypass road in preparation for the delayed maintenance and rehabilitation of the Allandale Road in Midrand.
The four-year delay was due to differences between the provincial government and the developers that resulted in a tender being withdrawn twice since it was first issued in 2016.
Gauteng MEC for public transport and road infrastructure Jacob Mamabolo said at the weekend that conflictual engagements between the department and the developers on the matter was to blame for the delay.
“The relationship between the department and the developers did not work well,” Mamabolo said.
The MEC and developers met on Friday and Saturday to thrash out the way forward and reached an agreement on how the road work would be undertaken without disrupting traffic flow on the busy road.
They agreed that work must start with the building of a bypass, which the developer agreed to construct at no cost on its land.
The department, and representatives of professional consultants firm, DNMZ Consulting and Century Property Developments, a private developer, agreed that traffic volumes had increased over the years while the road capacity had remained the same. This had impacted negatively on the current road due to congestion and deterioration of the road surface.
Mamabolo said this necessitated an urgent need to upgrade of the Allandale Road into a dual carriageway.
“The current state of deterioration of the road requires an urgent intervention through road maintenance and that any further delay on this will have a severe impact on road users,” Mamabolo said.
The MEC said a temporary bypass would be constructed, starting today, in preparation for the start of the actual road maintenance and rehabilitation process. He hoped that the bypass would ease traffic flow and assured motorists that there would be no need to close the road.
Century Property Developments undertook to construct the bypass and site camp and do bulk earthwork free of charge.
Chemical blasting would be explored as a first option before conventional blasting was considered. But should conventional blasting be necessary, it would be done outside peak hours and consistent communications would be undertaken to warn road users.
Mamabolo said should the maintenance not begin in the short term, there was a risk that the construction and turning the road into a dual carriageway may not happen for another four years or more. So, the MEC opted for a short term solution.
During the construction of the bypass, the road will remain open to road users, who were requested to cooperate throughout the maintenance period.
The detour would take about a month to finish but the Allandale maintenance itself was estimated to be finished in three months.
DA councillor for Ward 132 Annette Deppe commended Mamabolo for constructively engaging the stakeholders and for his open-door approach to the matter.
“Let’s hope that the new MEC is willing and able to make a difference to the people of Midrand,” Deppe said.
She said she opposed any move to close the road because it would have worsened the traffic situation in six wards and school children would have been affected. She suspected the deterioration was due to underground water resulting from a changed landscape emanating from various developments in the area.