So­lu­tion to KZN traf­fic chal­lenge cre­ates landmark

Vuk'uzenzele - - General - Hlengiwe Ngob­ese

The Newly uP­GraDeD Mt Edge­combe In­ter­change – one of the longest struc­tures ever built in South Africa – is tes­ta­ment to the coun­try’s world-class en­gi­neer­ing skills.

Peak hour traf­fic jams will be thing of the past for mo­torists trav­el­ling be­tween uMh­langa and the KwaZulu-Natal north coast with the com­ple­tion of one of the longest struc­tures ever built in South Africa.

The one kilo­me­tre-long in­cre­men­tally launched bridge forms part of the im­prove­ments un­der­taken by the South African Na­tional Roads Agency (San­ral) at the N2/M41 Mt Edge­combe In­ter­change, north of Dur­ban.

The in­ter­change was built over one of the prov­ince’s busiest in­ter­sec­tions without the need to close any of the roads per­ma­nently, us­ing an in­cre­men­tal launch­ing tech­nique.

In­cre­men­tal launch­ing in­volves cast­ing 12 to 30 me­tre-long sec­tions of the bridge su­per­struc­ture on site and then push­ing the com­pleted sec­tion for­ward along the bridge axis.

Im­prov­ing traf­fic flow

The project man­ager for San­ral’s east­ern re­gion, Corné Roux, said due to the ex­pan­sion of the uMh­langa and La Lu­cia Ridge ar­eas, the ex­ist­ing in­ter­change had been op­er­at­ing at ca­pac­ity, with ve­hi­cles backing up on the M41 and onto the N2 in peak hours.

“An ad­di­tional 40 000 ve­hi­cles en­ter or leave the N2 from the M41 daily, re­sult­ing in sub­stan­tial queu­ing of ve­hi­cles dur­ing the day. This, to­gether with ex­pected fu­ture ex­pan­sions and the an­tic­i­pated devel­op­ment of the Cor­nu­bia area, re­quired the ex­ist­ing in­ter­change to be up­graded in or­der to im­prove the flow to and from the N2 and M41 to the sup­port­ing road net­work,” he said.

“Con­struct­ing one of the longest struc­tures ever built in South Africa over one of the busiest in­ter­sec­tions in KwaZulu-Natal suc­cess­fully, without ever clos­ing any of the roads per­ma­nently, bears tes­ti­mony to the suc­cess of the se­lected con­struc­tion meth­ods and ma­te­ri­als,” he said.

Roux said the Mt Edge­combe in­ter­change up­grade has changed the land­scape for­ever and is sure to be­come a well­known landmark in years to come.

Gert van Schalk­wyk, res­i­dent en­gi­neer (struc­tures) for con­sult­ing engi­neers SMEC South Africa, said Bridge B0215 has a deck length of 947m, which not only makes it the longest in­cre­men­tally launched bridge in the south­ern hemi­sphere, but also one of the longest struc­tures in South Africa.

It has 23 piers, of which the high­est is 26m, with typ­i­cal spans of 42m. The longest span is 50.5m.

World-class en­gi­neer­ing

What sets B0215 apart is not only its sheer size and length, but also the fact the bridge was con­structed in two decks which were both in­cre­men­tally launched from op­po­site sides.

“Given the size of the decks and the fact th­ese decks were launched from the two op­po­site ends of the site, [the ac­cu­racy of the] fi­nal po­si­tion is a tes­ti­mony to the work­man­ship and world-class en­gi­neer­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties in South Africa,” said Van Schalk­wyk.

Putting the fin­ish­ing touches to close the gap on the 1km ramp at the Mt Edge­combe In­ter­change.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.