WSP Africa’s ‘toughest ever’ BRT project finished after three years
SOUTH AFRICA Construction firm WSP Africa has completed a BRT scheme in Johannesburg, a project it has described as the toughest the company has undertaken.
WSP Africa had been overseeing the design and construction of the recently-completed BRT route which began in January 2008. The firm has been working in conjunction with project manager KYD Consulting Engineers.
Kevin van Blerk, technical director for WSP explained how a range of difficulties compounded the cost and time taken to complete the project.
“We had to relocate everything outside of the bus lane to allow space for the construction of the bus route,” he said.
“In many instances the exact position and size of the services were uncertain. When we excavated some areas, we found the pipes had corroded and were near collapse. We had to replace the pipes, which took time and added costs. Provision also had to be made for aging water and sewer mains.”
A further challenge came with land acquisitions. Access to properties had to be considered, and residents close to the construction area were unhappy. A considerable length of time had to be spent holding negotiations with business and private property owners, convincing them to buy into the BRT concept and sell their properties as required.
Challenging weather conditions in the Johannesburg area delayed construction further.
The busway comprises of 11 bus stops running at 750m intervals for commuters. Each bus station features colour-coded street lighting and a waiting room. Construction work included the design and construction of bus lanes, road widening, relocation of utlities networks, modifications to storm drains, road reconstruction and resurfacing, the construction of retaining walls and traffic management upgrades.
The new road cross-section for the BRT accommodates two dedicated bus lanes, one in each direction, running down the middle of the existing road with another two mixed-traffic lanes travelling in each direction. Re-engineering of the existing road surface was needed to accommodate heavier buses running on the route. The traffic signal system has also been upgraded at each major road intersection, allowing for normal traffic and complementary buses to merge into the BRT network.