Many motorists in Drakenstein are ecstatic and at the same time relieved with the partial completion of the Oosbosch Street upgrade in Paarl.
The planing of this R128 million upgrade from Berg River Boulevard to Jan van Riebeeck Drive was started nine years ago and was officially opened on Thursday 14 October by Drakenstein Mayor Conrad Poole and Daylin Mitchell, Western Cape Minister of Transport and Public Works.
The road was upgraded to deal with major traffic congestion experienced during peak hours and the project includes the first-ever-in-Africa underground housing of traffic signalling equipment to prevent theft and vandalism.
Oosbosch Street has been transformed into a four-lane divided road, sufficient to accommodate the area’s existing and future traffic volumes. The project is nearing completion during October/November, and will be opened to the public in phases. A portion of Jan van Riebeeck Drive and Meaker Street was also upgraded.
The two-year project included the widening of the road over the Berg River Bridge and the road over the railway bridge – both demanding commendable engineering precision. Thanks to the upgrade, access between Paarl West and Paarl East is now easier and quicker.
Poole congratulated the team responsible for completing the project, and said: “Today is a red-letter day in the history of Drakenstein, and another positive step towards realising our vision of growing a city of excellence. In an ever-expanding city such as Drakenstein with several big-name brands coming to invest here, it is important that the Municipality ensures that the area has the necessary infrastructure to cope with the influx of people and the heavier traffic load that accompanies it.”
Provincial Minister Daylin Mitchell concurred: “I welcome the opening of this road which will alleviate congestion in the town of Paarl and contribute to its economic growth and the creation of job opportunities. I am very proud of the work that has been done by the Municipality in upgrading this road.”
To eradicate the increasing vandalism and theft of traffic light installations, the development of an innovative way to protect traffic signal installations was initiated by the Municipality as part of the Oosbosch Street project.
For the first time in Africa, the UPS (uninterrupted power supply), batteries, controller, and other equipment for the traffic signals are housed in underground chambers. These chambers were developed in collaboration with Smartlock Systems and are equipped with alarms that can detect attempts to gain unauthorised access. To facilitate work on the equipment, the equipment can be hoisted to above ground level to allow user input and maintenance at eye level.
“Safer roads are very important in this province. They attract investors and tourists to boost our economy,” said Mitchell. “We need to encourage investment in infrastructure projects that improve access to our towns. My department will continue to support infrastructure developments of this nature across the province to change the lives of many for the better. One of our main objectives was to ensure that road users are not limited on all our major road networks across the province.”
Poole also stressed the importance of road networks in growing Drakenstein as an investment destination. “We need to create an environment which entices even more businesses to invest here. I don’t have to tell you about the importance of a modern, working road network to the economy. It is said that roads are the arteries through which the economy pulses.”
The Oosbosch Street project was funded by Drakenstein Municipality and the Western Cape Government.
The civil engineering and construction company Martin & East was appointed on 20 August 2019 following a tender process, and the instruction to commence with the works was issued on 18 September 2019. UDS Africa was the consulting engineer on the project, attending to basic planning, final design and construction supervision.
According to the Municipality approximately R15 million was spent on local enterprises and local labour (residing in the Drakenstein municipal area). Approximately 110 local labourers were employed during the project and a total of 16 400 man-day work opportunities were created.