IMPACTS OF THE GAUTRAIN PROJECT

The proposed Gautrain project is likely to result in a number of positive impacts as GDACE’s amended RoD on the EIA acknowledged:

The project is part of an integrated Spatial Development Initiative under the jurisdiction of the Gauteng Provincial Government.  It comprises a component of an overall strategy for improving Gauteng’s major transportation infrastructure. It is in line with National Government’s stated policy to promote public transport and with international efforts to decrease dependence on the private motor vehicle. Gauteng has the highest number of cars per kilometre of roads in South Africa and thus these national and international policies are particularly important in this province.

The project has been prioritised by the Gauteng Provincial Government as a crucial development component intended to grow the economy, create jobs and alleviate poverty. The EIA provides independent corroboration that the project will meet these objectives.

The project is proposed as a Public-Private-Partnership. Public financing will be upfront rather than spread over the life of the project which will limit the financial liability of future generations.

The project will contribute to the relief of traffic congestion, mainly on the Ben Schoeman highway, and this will result in timesaving and economic benefits for motorists and for users of the train. Traffic congestion on the Ben Schoeman has been increasing in intensity by roughly 7% annually for more than 10 years, and this trend is showing no signs of declining. Addressing and reducing this congestion is thus essential for the improved quality of life for people who use the major road network and who live and work close to it.

The project will enhance opportunities for spatial development which complies with local and provincial government policy to make optimal use of existing urban infrastructure and to densify South Africa’s cities. The current investment in Gauteng’s freeway system is extremely high. This infrastructure however is unable to sustain the projected increases in traffic load and congestion and hence the need for alternative infrastructure to complement the major road network in such a way as to ensure its sustainable and cost effective use.

The project will generate employment.

The project will reduce dependency on private motor vehicles and its operation will result in a reduction in vehicle generated air pollutant emissions. In addition to reduced air pollution, the project will also reduce the overall levels of waste generation as well as the total ‘land take’ for transport infrastructure in the province.

The recommended route alignment in the EIA has been modified extensively from the Reference Route published at the start of the EIA process. This has been done mainly as a result of submissions made by I&APs and the investigations conducted for the EIA. The project thus complies with the principle established in the National Environmental Management Act to optimise public participation.
In addition to the route alternatives assessed in the EIA, the need for and feasibility of the Gautrain project was evaluated against the ‘no-go’ option. This was undertaken in order to address doubts raised by certain I&APs about the financial feasibility of the project. A summary of this evaluation can be viewed by selecting the link below.
See Section 2.4.1 of Addendum to the Draft EIA report (PDF-933KB)

GDACE’s amended RoD also states:

The negative social and environmental impacts associated with the revised Gautrain route alignment can be contained within acceptable limits, subject to appropriate environmental management of project design, construction and implementation. Negative impacts include, inter alia, the effects of the project on the ambient noise environment, vibration, air quality, heritage, sense of place, security and property value, as well as a range of other natural environmental and social effects pertaining to the construction and operation of the train. The revised route alignment succeeds in finding an acceptable balance between the needs of efficiency, social equity and ecological sustainability. These negative impacts are localised and must thus be weighed up against the substantial positive overall benefits that the project will have for the entire province, as well as the country as a whole.

While there are a number of negative impacts caused by the project, for which specific mitigation measures can not be finalised until the detailed planning for the project is completed, none of these are considered to be fatal flaws and the Department is satisfied that they can be managed by appropriate measures developed as the project design progresses, in accordance with the requirements of the National Environmental Management Act that, among others, pollution (including noise and vibration pollution) and the disruption of culturally important landscapes are avoided where possible and otherwise minimised.

The potential negative environmental impacts of the Gautrain are predominantly socio-economic See Section 2.4.3.2 of Addendum to the Draft EIA Report (PDF-933KB), rather than biophysical See Section 2.4.3.1 of Addendum to the Draft EIA Report (PDF-933KB), since the route lies within the already urbanised, or rapidly urbanising Pretoria-Johannesburg corridor. A summary of these impacts and where to find more detail can be viewed by selecting the links below.

Noise and vibration as a result of the operation of the Gautrain is an issue raised by many I&APs. It is a complex subject and more information has been provided in an accompanying section of this website.

Summaries of the potential environmental impacts specific to certain links of the recommended Gautrain route, as well as at particular stations, are also available.

These summaries can be viewed by reading the following sections in the Addendum to the Draft EIA Report (PDF-933KB).

  • Johannesburg Park Station to Sandton Station, Section 2.5 of Addendum
  • Sandton Station to Marlboro Station, Section 2.6 of Addendum
  • Marlboro Station to Midrand Station, Section 2.7 of Addendum
  • Midrand Station to Centurion Station, Section 2.8 of Addendum
  • Centurion Station to Pretoria Station, Section 2.9 of Addendum
  • Pretoria Station to Hatfield Station, Section 2.10 of Addendum
  • Marlboro Station to OR Tambo International Airport Station, Section 2.11 of Addendum
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