Atterbury Road to cut through plots and spruit Print E-mail
News - Aktueel
Thursday, 19 June 2008 22:48
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Atterbury Road extension will soon become the access road to The Hills, a residential development on portion 72 and 73 of the farm Rietfontein 375 JR, south east of Mooikloof.

Atterbury Road extension will become the link road to The Hills

This route has been chosen as the result of an environmental impact assessment (EIA) by environmental consultants African EPA. A public participation process was launched in late 2006, including a public meeting and discussion of three alternative access roads, referred to as Roads 1, 2, and 3. Road 2, Atterbury Road, was chosen. A scoping report, which focused on the findings of the public participation, the identification of alternatives and specialist studies, was submitted to GDACE for approval by middle December 2007.

According to the report, the construction of a Class 3 road with a design speed of 60 km/h is proposed. The road surface will be stonemastic asphalt and will have two 3,7 m lanes. The estimated cost is R25-million and the estimated construction period is eight months.

A small construction camp will be located within The Hills’ existing construction camp. No workers will be allowed to sleep on site and a staff identification system will be implemented.

According to the report, traffic will be concentrated during peak hours, but an estimated 1 400 vehicles per hour can be expected. Construction of the road will simultaneously start from Atterbury Road towards the Zwavelpoort spruit and from The Hills towards the spruit. The alignment will be cleared to allow movement of construction machinery. At the same time a second construction team at the spruit will temporarily divert the flow of the spruit for building the bridge.

A draft environmental impact report was put out for public comment from 22 May to 20 June. This report recommended Road 2 to alleviate traffic congestion in the area by providing additional access to The Hills and other developments, as well as a shorter route tothe Menlyn Business Node. The three road options included:

· Road 1 – Agricultural smallholdings with an existing right of way servitude which is currently a dirt road along 50% of its length.

· Road 2 - An existing dirt road adjacent to the Mooikloof Residential Estate, which turns away from the Mooikloof boundary wall a few hundred metres after the last entrance to Mooikloof. From here onwards the proposed alignment is an existing right of way servitude, located adjacent to the boundary of The Hills, which is under construction. It is a dirt road for approximately 70% of its length.

- Road 3 - Agricultural smallholdings. The servitude has not been proclaimed and no dirt road exists.

Residents made objections to all three road alignments because they will cut through property and cause a reduction in property value. Many Zwavelpoort residents said that the pastoral country atmosphere and natural environment for which their property was purchased will be destroyed. According to the report, the Road 2 alignment is a registered servitude and landowners that are located next to the alignment were aware of it when they bought their properties.

Horse breeders in the area said that they would not be able to continue with breeding activities should a big road cut through their properties.

There has also been some concern about the destruction of the wetland wildlife.

The biggest concerns have been about noise levels and an increase in crime levels due to easier access to the area. Mooikloof residents insist that the main road next to Mooikloof should be tarred because the additional traffic will cause increased dust.

Road 2 includes two sensitive faunal habitats – a wetland and a class three ridge. There is reasonable potential for significant impacts on potentially sensitive faunal inhabitants.

According to the report, the loss of possible red data habitat is not considered extreme. There is an existing dirt road on the largest part of the ridge area, which means that transformation has already taken place in the area. Where the road crosses the Zwavelpoort Spruit, the proposed bridge will have to provide for the 1:50 year flow, so that the base flow will stay constant.

Areas where stream crossings could take place were identified and addressed in the wetland delineation and aquatic assessment report. A water use license application is in process. An environmental management plan (EMP) drafted specifically for the rehabilitation of the crossing will be enforced.

The report states that the impact on the environment can be mitigated with careful planning and rigid implementation of a site-specific EMP. This EMP will be made part of the contractual documents for contractors, as well as purchase agreements for potential owners.

An environmental control officer will be appointed to audit the EMP on a bi-weekly basis during the construction phase. It is recommended that a fine system, which is severe enough to control activities on site, be set up.

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