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Exciting Times Ahead for Midrand and the Gautrain

Gautrain RouteThe Gautrain Rapid Rail Link is a state-of-the-art rapid rail network planned in Gauteng. The rail connection comprises of two links, namely a link between Tshwane (Pretoria) and Johannesburg and a link between OR Tambo International Airport and Sandton. Apart from the three anchor stations on these two links, seven other stations will be linked by approximately 80 kilometres of rail along the proposed route.

From Marlboro Station, the Gautrain route heads north, running to the east of Buccleuch until it reaches Midrand Station. After Midrand Station, the route tracks the Old Pretoria-Johannesburg Road.

The proposed Midrand Station location will be adjacent to the Old Pretoria-Johannesburg Road (K101) adjacent to Grand Central Airport - The Midrand Station will be approximately 2km's from Bella Khaya Guest House.

Gautrain's Midrand Station

Locality

The Midrand Station location will be adjacent to the new alignment of the Pretoria-Johannesburg Road (K101) east of the Midrand Central area adjacent to Grand Central Airport. It is in a cut north-east of provincial road K101 near Halfway House Extension 13 township and Grand Central Airport to the north.

The station is located on the site of the proposed Zonk`Izizwe shopping, entertainment, office and residential development that is envisaged to be one of the largest development nodes in South Africa.

It is envisaged that the station will be located opposite Grand Central Boulevard which is planned to extend across the K101 in the direction of Grand Central Airport. The size needed for the station is approximately 5 hectares, which makes provision for the station, rail operational area, parking and public transport facilities.

From Marlboro Station, the Gautrain route heads north, running to the east of Buccleuch until it reaches Midrand Station next to Grand Central Airport. After Midrand Station, the route largely tracks the Old Pretoria-Johannesburg Road (past Glen Austin and Randjesfontein) and the N1 before it stops in Centurion’s central business district at the Centurion Station.

Rail Services Available From Midrand Station

Passengers can board the Gautrain at Midrand to all stations on the north-south commuter service, i.e. Centurion, Pretoria and Hatfield, to the north and Marlboro, Sandton, Rosebank and Johannesburg Park Station to the south. As the Midrand Station does not service the west-east spine, passengers to the Ekurhuleni area should transfer at Marlboro Station to the west-east commuter service to the Rhodesfield Station in Kempton Park while passengers to the OR Tambo International Airport must transfer at Sandton to the non-stop airport service to the OR Tambo International Airport Station in the terminal building.

Vision of the Midrand Station

Midrand Station is a greenfields (development in an under developed area) station and it is envisaged that the area around the station can accommodate high density mixed use development creating the desired new urban form. Specific aims for Midrand Station and its surrounds include consolidation of the Midrand business district and infill between the business district and the station. Aims furthermore include the introduction of high density residential uses and complementing the mixed use Zonk`Izizwe development surrounding the station area and creation of pedestrian and vehicular links to ensure integration. In particular the vision aims to:

  • consolidate the Midrand business district (BD);

  • achieve infill in the extension of the BD towards the station;

  • encourage residential densification around the station;

  • promote mixed use development of Zonk`Izizwe but also with a focus on high density residential development; and

  • create strategic vehicular and pedestrian links across the K101 to ensure integration and connectivity.

Despite the scale of transportation routes, every effort should be made to encourage pedestrian movement through appropriately designed pedestrian routes and pathways in the station precinct and its surrounds.

Click here for an artist impression of Midrand station

Access to the Midrand Station

The station at Midrand will serve mainly as a destination station with trips in the morning, ending in the commercial and light industrial areas on both sides of the N1, between the N1 and the R101, as well as the central business district, developments at Gallagher Estate and the proposed Zonk`Izizwe development. For this reason, a distributor network is planned.

Attractions in the Midrand Station Area

The following attractions and destinations are important places in an around Midrand Station. Hence, appropriate linkages are created to facilitate access and connectivity:

  • the Old Mutual Zonk`Izizwe development;

  • Grand Central Airport;

  • Gallagher Estate that currently houses the Pan African Parliament;

  • the N1 development corridor;

  • New Road; and

  • Midrand business district.

A number of service industries have established in Midrand such as the UNISA Business School and Midrand University and other educational facilities which will benefit from the increased public transport accessibility created by the Gautrain.

Impacts of the Gautrain in the Midrand Station Area and and Mitigating Measures

Potential impacts of the Gautrain in Midrand could possibly be on heritage resources and traffic volumes.

Heritage Impact Assessment
In terms of the National Heritage Resources Act of 1999, the Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) focused on the heritage resources which could be affected by the recommended route alignment for Gautrain. The cultural significance of a heritage resource had to be determined and the HIA thus focussed on heritage resources with aesthetic, architectural, historical, scientific, social, spiritual linguistic or technological value or significance. The assessment included aspects such as buildings, structures and associated equipment, townscapes, landscapes, natural features, archaeological and paleontological sites, graves and burial grounds.

Phase one of the Gautrain HIA conducted in the Midrand area identified heritage resources that could be impacted upon indirectly. Possible indirect impact could be on vegetation, sense of place and setting.

The recommended route alignment might affect some of the original bluegum trees lining the Old Johannesburg-Pretoria road. Maximum care will be taken during the construction phase to limit the removal of the trees.
The culturally significant old farmstead of Randjesfontein could possibly be impacted upon indirectly.
The Midrand Presbyterian Church could be indirectly impacted upon during the construction and operation phases of the Gautrain.
The Concessionaire will draft mitigation plans to address, inter alia, indirect visual and noise and vibration impacts on the heritage mentioned above.

More can be read about Gautrain’s heritage impact on Midrand in the HIA Final Report.

Traffic Impact Assessment
The estimated traffic volumes travelling to and from the Gautrain Midrand Station are described in the Traffic Impact Assessment (TIA). The assessment was done based on the impact such expected traffic will have on the normal traffic in the immediate area of the station. Aspects considered include accessibility to stations, peak hour traffic, and the volume of traffic from different modalities and the potential upgrade of the road network.

The TIA of Midrand Station concluded that Gautrain traffic can be expected to add to traffic demand on the road network around the station during peak hours. Recommendations to manage the increased traffic demand in this area are:

  • Optimisation of traffic signal settings to improve traffic operations on the road network;

  • Co-ordination with the road improvements recommended for the Zonk`Izizwe development; and

  • Road upgrades to increase the capacity of the road network

More can be read about the TIA of Midrand’s Gautrain Station in the Proposed Midrand Station Traffic Impact Assessment.

Noise and vibration impacts have been raised as a concern during the Environmental Impact Assessment and mitigating measures such as noise barriers will be constructed to ensure that noise levels do not exceed acceptable standards.

Summaries of the potential environmental impacts specific to the Gautrain Midrand Station can be viewed in the Environmental Impact Assessment Addendums: Marlboro Station to Midrand Station, 2.7 and Midrand Station to Centurion Station, 2.8.`

Contribution of the Gautrain to the Development of the Influence Area of the Gautrain Midrand Station

The Gautrain is a strategic development initiative that is aimed at economic development and job creation, over and above its benefits from a public transport perspective and the reduction in traffic pressure on major roads.

The Midrand Station framework proposes to consolidate Midrand by linking the old with the new through the extension of the BD in an easterly direction. The impact area should include mixed land uses, but mainly offices and residential buildings up to a height of eight storeys. Grand Central Boulevard forms the central spine linking the station with the existing BD through this mixed-use zone.

The framework proposes that a large high-density residential area be developed on the land that is not part of the Zonk`Izizwe development, i.e. east of the K101 at an average height of 5 storeys. This area should also include all the community facilities and open space requirements to serve in the order of 4000 residential units.

Industrial and commercial uses should form the buffer between Grand Central Airport and the residential area to counter the noise impact of the airport. Commercial and Industrial infill should also be promoted to the west of Old Pretoria Road and to the north of existing Midrand BD.

The area around Gallagher Estate could support additional hotels and conference facilities as well as residential uses.

Possible Future Extension

Midrand remains a rapidly growing residential and business development area and will benefit from the improved accessibility of the area provided by the Gautrain. This rail service is expected to be a catalyst for development in the large vacant areas east of the N1 Ben Schoeman Freeway, which includes ambitious projects such as the Zonk`Izizwe project.

More information about the Midrand Station can be read in section six of the Station Functional Area Guidelines of the City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality.