Westgate Station upgrade to kick off this year

westgate precinct

The Westgate Station Precinct development plans have been submitted to the City of Johannesburg for approval; once construction begins, it will focus on the Westgate Rank. 

The Westgate Station precinct – with a multimodal public transport interchange – lies at the south-west corner of Johannesburg’s inner city. The interchange includes the Westgate train station, owned and operated by the Passenger Rail Agency (Prasa), two Rea Vaya (Bus Rapid Transit) stations, a minibus taxi rank, and parking for Metrobus and privately owned national and cross-border busses.

The precinct is south of the Newtown Cultural Precinct, west of the Main Street Mall upgrade and adjacent to the Johannesburg Development Agency’s Chinatown and Diagonal Street upgrades.  

The transport interchange is surrounded by several large parcels of mostly privately owned, vacant and underdeveloped land. Land owners include Standard Bank for Ussher Site, iProp Limited for the land north, east and west of the Crown Interchange, and the Johannesburg Land Company for the land west of the Zurich Insurance Building.

The Westgate Station’s development lease has been awarded to Inkanyeli Properties and building plans have been submitted to the City of Johannesburg for approval, with construction intended to start in 2013.

A third phase of work is being designed for 2013/14, with an indicative budget of R40-million. This phase will continue the public environment upgrade project along selected streets within the precinct; however the focus will be on the Westgate Rank upgrade.

Given the strategic nature of the Westgate node, an in-depth planning exercise is in progress. This includes establishing current and proposed transport operations in this node to ensure sensible changes to the rank, which will be aligned to the strategic vision for transport in the inner city.

Westgate’s role in the overall inner city taxi and bus transport system needs to be considered in terms of the longer term strategic planning for public transport facilities in the Inner City Transport Study framework.

Road upgrades will include improving pavements, kerbing, resurfacing and road marking, building stormwater inlets, installing new street furniture (including benches, bins, bollards, and signage), planting street trees, and installing or upgrading street and pedestrian lighting. Interventions may also include road narrowing to make more space for pedestrians; widening, signalised intersections and directional changes to reduce traffic congestion; and possibly new parking and loading arrangements.

The Westgate Rank upgrade will include reconfiguration and possible entrance and exit changes, new paving, kerbing, resurfacing, road markings, storm water drainage, street furniture, lighting, a formal trading area for informal traders, and improving existing ablution facilities or constructing a new ablution block. 

A second sculpture will be installed within the precinct to celebrate the life of struggle stalwart Oliver Tambo; additional smaller scale artworks could possibly be placed within the precinct.

R1-million will be spent on initial planning and design for the project’s next phase, which involves a significant investment in green energy infrastructure.