Cape Town – Inhabitants of the informal settlement Imizamo Yethu (IY) in Hout Bay will now have an easier time to reach their destination, thanks to the construction of 14 new roads through the city of Cape Town.
The roads will also play a crucial role in enabling access roads for emergency vehicles to respond more quickly to incidents in times of crisis.
The project, initiated by the Netherlands Authority for Transport and Urban Development, started in June 2016 and costs R38 million.
This includes the rearrangement and construction of the roads, the installation of rainwater infrastructure, new sidewalks and walkways where the road reserves were wide enough, and the installation of critical street lights.
The streets that were reconstructed include A Boesak; J Naidoo, A Mlangeni; Bambata; C Hani; Hlintsa; M Goniwe; M Kotane; M Mabinda; N Aggett; S Biko, Molefe, H Joseph and B February.
According to mayco member for transport and urban development, Brett Herron, roads are an essential part of urban life.
"Roads make it easier and safer for people to move, be it in vehicles or on foot.Ways also create a sense of place and dignity, which means that it provides structure and something as simple as a street address for those who live there, "Herron said.
"I have always considered the road project in IY as one of the most important on our to-do list, because now these roads are finally completed, it will fundamentally change how the residents live and move in this part of IY."
He added that pavements for pedestrians were added where the road reserves were wide enough to create a safe space for children and residents to walk through. The city also installed streetlights that help the residents feel safer when they have to walk to their destination in the dark.
Another important part of the construction of road infrastructure was the construction of rainwater infrastructure.
"Without rainwater infrastructure roads in rivers change during rainstorms, houses are flooded and neighborhoods are cut off from emergency aid, and without rainwater infrastructure roads will eventually be completely out of shape," Herron said.
He added that the 14 new roads and the other services that are part of this project will work a long way in improving the living conditions of those living in IY.
Although the graduation project was a success, it was not without challenges.
"One of the complexities of the project was the rearrangement of some of the roads and walkways to accommodate informal structures. We had to come up with innovative redesigns to meet the informal conditions in IY, as well as the steep typography of this area.
"Everything we did was in consultation with the project steering committee and local residents.In the end about 100 constructions were moved slightly to make way for the roads and walkways, and in some cases we had to do it with narrower walkways and roads to accommodate the structures. "Herron said.
Fifty residents of IY were also employed by contractors to work on the project, with the value of these temporary employment opportunities of R 1.2m.
Street names are installed in September, while the contractor is still busy with some small hooks and eyes, which will be completed by then.