Repairs to damaged infrastructure caused by gas blast begin

The City of Johannesburg’s repair work on the underground gas explosion site at Lillian Ngoyi Street (formerly Bree Street) officially commenced on Thursday.

The R196-million project is expected to be completed in December.

City of Johannesburg mayor Kabelo Gwamanda said the repairs started on January 11 and are scheduled to be completed by December 15.

City manager Floyd Brink said the expenditure will cover the professional fees and construction costs of the infrastructure.

Brink said this amount will also cover roadworks, stormwater and services infrastructure, the electrical, mechanical and structural works required on site to deliver on the designs approved by the city.

Gwamanda and Brink were speaking at a media briefing in Braamfontein on Thursday regarding the rehabilitation programme of Lillian Ngoyi Street in the Joburg CBD following the underground gas explosion that rocked the city in July 2023.

Gwamanda and Brink were joined by transport MMC Kenny Kunene and Joburg Roads Agency acting CEO Zweli Nyathi.

The explosion left one person dead and 48 people injured, and its cause was attributed to a methane gas.

Contractor already on site

Nyathi said the service providers appointed by the city to repair the damaged infrastructure are Step Up Engineering (contractor) and Durapi Consulting (consulting company).

Gwamanda said Step Up Engineering is already on the site of the blast and has been appointed to do the following:

  • The excavation and removal of the rubble and damaged infrastructure;
  • The demolition and removal of the service tunnels;
  • The construction and replacement of the service tunnels and infrastructure;
  • The installation of modern health and safety measures to mitigate the risk of similar disasters in future. This includes gas, heat and smoke detection and ventilation systems; and
  • To do the installation and provision of smart infrastructure in line with the requirements of the city.

The repairs to Lillian Ngoyi Street, said Gwamanda, will benefit a handful of small, medium, and micro enterprises (SMME).

SMMEs to reap rewards

“As with all city-led developments, the construction phase will deliver critical employment opportunities for an estimated 80 residents and business opportunities for several small, medium and micro enterprises.”

Kunene said at least 80 work opportunities will be created on the project, noting that six SMMEs with a CIDB grading of 1CE to 4CE will participate in the project as subcontractors.

“The SMMEs will receive accredited structured training on engineering skills and entrepreneurial skills such as tendering,” said Kunene.

“Workers will receive on-the-job training on aspects such as formwork, steel fixing, on-site safety management, paving works, kerbing, pipe laying, and construction of manholes.” 

Gwamanda assured residents of Joburg that the city’s leadership will ensure that the project is completed by the stipulated date.

“As the city leadership, we will pay close attention to the progress on site and closely monitor that agreed timelines and milestones are met and delivered upon,” he said. 

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