South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) says that the growth in traffic demand in Johannesburg is resulting in the peak periods being extended by as much as 15 minutes each year.
Communications lead at Sanral, Vusi Mona, told Engineering News that Gauteng’s freeway toll network is nearly at capacity.
He said that the morning peak period is between 06h00 and 09h00, with the afternoon stretch at between 15h00 and 18h00, adding that there is little traffic reduction in between those peak periods.
“During the peak periods, many of the freeway sections carrying the peak direction demands are running at capacity – actually over the design capacity,” he said.
He cited the busiest section of the Gauteng open-road tolling (GORT) as being between the Buccleuch and Allandale interchanges, in Midrand, with peak volume reaching up to 11,000 vehicles each hour in each direction.
According to Engineering News, this section of road has seen volumes increase by nearly 100% since 2006, while upgrades to the Gauteng freeway network only allows for a 4.7% increase in yearly traffic since 2010.
Mona said he expects that peak periods will increase due to urbanisation. It has been reported that the population of Johannesburg grows by about 10,000 people per month – or 120,000 annually.
The stretch between the Buccleuch and Allandale interchanges could swell to 285,000 vehicles per day as early as 2020, with the highest volumes measured currently, at 283,000 vehicles.
“Essentially the average travel time could increase by ten minutes between now and 2020, but will increase exponentially from then onwards,” Mona told Engineering News.