The DBSA's IDD is currently supporting City of Ekurhuleni with infrastructure programmes. One project is the Tembisa pedestrian underpass bridges, which is a collaboration between the city and Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA). It was identified in response to the high number of pedestrian fatalities on the railway line. A study conducted by National Treasury in 2016 recorded between 7 000 and 10 000 people crossing of the railway line over a 12-hour period, in Isithame/Kopanong and Ibazelo/Temong sections and surrounding areas.
• Reduce the number of fatalities on the route
• Provide attractive safe and user-friendly pedestrian and cycle underpass
• Improve mobility of pedestrians
• Improve safety and security of pedestrians and residents of the area.
The project is implemented under the current MoA signed between the City of Ekurhuleni and the DBSA, mandating IDD to procure and supervise the management contractor to do the following:
• Design permanent and temporary works
• Supply details necessary to assist the engineer in the compilation of as-built drawings
• Construct two underpass bridges.
IDD is overseeing the engineering design of the bridge and supervision of the contractor during the entire construction stage. A contractor was appointed to fulfil the day-to-day project implementation role, including supervision of the work of sub-contractors. To ensure minimum disruptions, the project is being implemented in two phases:
Phase one has been successfully completed, with the two bridges having been constructed and rail services installed in January 2018. The project involved temporary disruption of rail services between 8 December 2017 and 7 January 2018. A communication campaign with all stakeholders was used to ensure adequate buy-in. The construction team worked during weekends and over the December construction break to achieve the tight timeframe set by PRASA.
Phase two is underway and scheduled for completion by July 2018. It includes electrical lighting, supply and installation of the CCTV, and landscaping, grassing and interlocking brick paving on the ramps.
This project has affirmed that comprehensive community engagement throughout the project life cycle is crucial to avoid protests, even where the project requires temporary disruptions of an essential service such as rail transport.