The De Beers Expressway connecting Keeversfontein in KwaZulu-Natal with Warden in the Free State is close to being completed.
When a new road of a certain size is built, there are many environmental requirements that need to be met. These include obtaining permits and doing an environmental impact report.
For the planned De Beers Expressway, 21 specialist studies were accepted. For this specific road to be built, an array of issues needed to be resolved before they started.
The planned route will pass through a wetland area and affect local flora, fauna and birds.
In order for the expressway to be built, The Department of Water and Sanitation and the South African Heritage Resources Agency are contacted to ensure we have met the guidelines. Due to the amount of mammals, fish, birds and plants living in sections of wetlands, special measures are to be taken to help release each living species into another area.
Rare and endangered plant species will be removed and positioned in an on-site nursery and replanted elsewhere.
Tunnels and bridges will be designed to provide sufficient space for animals to access under the road and noise barriers will be constructed alongside the road so they won’t disturb feeding, roosting and breeding of birds.
According to the City of Joburg’s bylaws, no person may climb upon, break, damage or in any way mark or paint on any tree on any public road within the municipal area of the Council, and no person may, without the prior written permission of the Council, lop, top, trim, cut down or remove any such tree unless the person is authorised to do so in terms of these by-laws or any other law.
So when trees need to to be relocated, we have to get permits in line with the National Forestry Act.
We also needed to ensure that we are in line with The Agricultural Resources and Biodiversity?Acts, which require the removal of alien vegetation so that the plants do not take over.
The De Beers Expressway faced a series of issues during construction, however we put an Environmental Management Programme together that ensured we were following the bylaws and the completion was done within guidelines of The Agricultural Resources and Biodiversity?Acts. In future, we will make sure a programme is always drawn up if we ever face similar issues like this again.