The Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) comprises different phases to upgrade and implement new freeways of an ultimate 560km freeway network. The first phase, comprising the upgrading of 185km of the most congested freeways is currently under construction (a total of 15 work packages).
Apart from widening of the freeways, the GFIP project will also ensure that bottlenecks at interchanges are resolved. For the first phase of the GFIP, 34 interchanges are significantly upgraded, including infamous interchanges such as the Allandale, Rivonia, William Nicol, Gilloolys and Elands interchanges. Furthermore, median lighting and Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) will be provided on the network.
ITS, comprising of Variable Message Signs (VMS), CCV cameras and Incident Management Services, allow SANRAL to manage the national road network in Gauteng for optimal use of the road capacity available. Through the VMS, SANRAL is able to warn road users of congestion. The CCTV cameras ensure that incidents are noticed and emergency services dispatched immediately. This information is also available on SANRAL’s traffic website
With the planning of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project, SANRAL took other transport modes into consideration (the Gautrain, Metrorail and Bus Rapid Transport) and strived to create links with other transport modes to provide citizens with the choice of using public transportation or car-pooling that will alleviate congestion caused by single-passenger vehicles.
The project was approved by cabinet in 2007 after which SANRAL followed the Intent to Toll process. Amongst other requirements, SANRAL widely advertised the details of the project, the intent to toll, the proposed toll points, expected toll tariffs, upon which the public were given the opportunity to comment. The comments were considered by the Minister of Transport where after the related road sections were declared as toll roads.
Following the declaration of these freeway sections as toll roads, SANRAL could continue to raise funding from the capital markets and procure contractors to commence with construction.