So far, all the preparatory work has been happening quietly in the background with minimum impact on airport users and services. A key element of this preparatory work has been the construction of a North-South by-pass road running through the car parking area which is nearing completion. This road is being constructed to temporarily replace the current drop-off and go road in front of the Terminals for the duration of construction. This is necessary to allow for the construction of a new elevated drop-off and go road in front of the terminals, similar to that of OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg.
With the completion of the by-pass road this month, the transformation process will begin to impact on airport users as vehicle traffic using the current drop-off and go road will be diverted to this road. This diversion will take place on Saturday 20 January 2007.
While the by-pass road has been constructed to cater sufficiently for drop-off and go for both domestic and international passengers, users will have to adapt to the drop-off area being approximately 60 meters away from the terminal. Airport users will also have to use special routes (covered walkways) for pedestrian traffic to and from the terminals as a large swathe of the area directly in front of the terminals stretching from north to south will be hoarded off for construction.
The construction of the new elevated ring road is one of the many developments that will transform Cape Town International Airport in the next three years. The elevated road, which will separate traffic serving departures from traffic serving arrivals, will take approximately 18 months to complete. “The greatest challenge facing ACSA at Cape Town International Airport during the massive construction period ahead will be to manage such a massive construction project while continuing to operate the airport safely and securely. Unfortunately, the construction work will have to happen in a live operating environment, which will necessarily bring some inconvenience to airport users and staff. So we will be focused on limiting the inconvenience and ensuring safe and secure operations during construction” says George Uriesi, General Manager of the airport.
“But, we’re well aware that despite our best intentions, the construction activities will still cause some discomfort. We can only ask our airport users to be patient, and to remember that the airport is transforming to serve its users better – in the end the gain will be worth the pain!”
Construction activity will peak by April 2007 when work commences on the second multi storey car park.