Johannesburg enjoys some of the most sophisticated transport infrastructure on the continent, including multi-lane highways and a bustling international airport, voted the best in Africa two years in a row. Work will also soon begin on the continent's fastest underground train service.
There are over 9 000 kilometres of road in Johannesburg, of which all but 940 kilometres are tarred. The Ben Schoeman - or M1- highway between Johannesburg and Pretoria, the country's administrative capital, is the busiest in the southern hemisphere, and is used by some 300 000 commuters each weekday. Most of the country's multi-lane national highways meet at a massive interchange to the south-east of Johannesburg, providing the country's most advanced highway access.
The rapid growth of daily motorists commuting between Johannesburg and Pretoria has sparked a multi-billion rand initiative to build the country's first bullet train. The 80km high-speed rail link between Johannesburg, Pretoria and Johannesburg International Airport will relieve congestion on some of the busiest highways in the southern hemisphere. Construction on the "Gautrain" is expected to begin in 2005. The country has over 25% of the railroad track in Africa and Gauteng - particularly Johannesburg - is the hub of the rail network. The city is connected by rail to all the main cities and ports in the sub-continent including Harare, Maputo, Durban, Richards Bay, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town. The recently upgraded Park Station in Johannesburg is the largest commuter station in South Africa. Almost 10% of the inner city's work force arrives each day by train. Airports
Johannesburg International Airport is the passenger and freight hub for southern Africa. The airport is surrounded by vibrant and fast-growing industrial areas, with easy access to the rest of the Gauteng economy. The airport, which has just undergone a major R850-million facelift, was voted the best airport in Africa in 2004 for the second consecutive year. The biggest and busiest airport on the continent, it is now capable of handling 22 million passengers annually. The airport's development initiative brought with it spill-over upgrades for adjacent aprons and the road's infrastructure in the vicinity, including upgrades to the road network feeding the airport.
The Johannesburg area has three other, smaller airports that host commercial aircraft:
- Rand Airport in the south east of the city
- Grand Central airport in Midrand, halfway between Johannesburg and Pretoria
- Lanseria airport, to the north west of Johannesburg
One of the most recent developments, and amongst the most symbolic, is the R38-million Nelson Mandela Bridge, which has emerged as a landmark in the Gauteng province. The 284-metre long bridge crosses over 42 operational railway lines in linking Braamfontein and the north of Johannesburg to Newtown in the heart of the city's central business district, and is the centrepiece of a R300-million inner city renewal project driven by the province's economic development initiative, Blue IQ.
Already completed in Newtown are the first phase of the Mary Fitzgerald Square, situated in the Newtown Cultural Precinct, and the Metro Mall, a multi-modal transport and retail centre catering for 150 000 daily commuters. Work is under way on the construction of new on- and off-ramps from the M1 highway, to give direct access to Newtown for motorists from the north and south of the city.
The City of Johannesburg has set aside R1-billion for more than 170 projects to upgrade and rejuvenate the inner city and the previously disadvantaged areas.
The multiple spatial development framework projects will have a wide-ranging focus, from improving storm-water drainage and developing parks to road construction and the building of 100 000 houses.
Source: City of Johannesburg website