Wednesday’s devastating fire in the Imizamo Yethu informal settlement, Hout Bay, highlighted the critical need for planned infrastructure. This has prompted the city of Cape Town to begin the construction of 14 new roads, that will play a vital role in creating access routes for emergency vehicles to travel on.
The project commenced in June – will cost an estimated R38-million – and includes the realignment of roads, installation of stormwater infrastructure, the building of new sidewalks and walkways, as well as the installation of street lights.
The reconstructed road names 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.
Brett Herron, Mayco member for Transport and Urban Development, said that roads are an essential component of efficient urban living.
“Roads make it easier and safer for people to move around, be it in vehicles or on foot. Roads also create a sense of place and dignity, meaning it provides structure and something as simple as a street address to those who reside along them,” he said. “I have always regarded the roads project in IY as one of the most important on our to-do-list, because now that these roads are finally completed, it will fundamentally change how the residents live and move around in this section of IY.”
Herron also highlighted the importance of stormwater infrastructure.
“Without stormwater infrastructure, roads turn into rivers during downpours, homes are flooded, and neighbourhoods are cut off from emergency assistance. Without stormwater infrastructure, roads will eventually fail completely,” Herron said.
While the project has been a success thus far, it has not come without its own challenges.
“One of the complexities of the project was the realignment of some of the roads and walkways to accommodate informal structures. We had to come up with innovative redesigns to accommodate the informal conditions in IY, as well as the steep typography of this area,” Herron said. “Everything we did was in consultation with the project steering committee and local residents. In the end about 100 structures were moved slightly to make way for the roads and walkways, and in some instances we had to make do with narrower walkways and roads to accommodate the structures.”
The above-mentioned streets will be installed this coming September, this project has provided work for some 50 residents of Imizamo Yethu.