N2 doubling upgrades well under way
THE doubling of the N2 between Mtunzini
Toll Plaza and the Empangeni Interchange is on track to be completed at the end of June 2019.
Within weeks, the north-bound traffic will be diverted onto the newly-constructed carriageway just after the Mtunzini toll plaza and diverted back to the existing carriageway just before the Esikhaleni interchange.
Project Manager at South African National Roads Agency SOC Ltd (SANRAL) Eastern Region, Corné Roux said this will allow the start of the upgrading of the existing road, the future south-bound carriageway adjacent to the newly-constructed section.
‘Work is progressing well despite the challenges posed by the 60 metre deep piles and difficult piling conditions at the Mhlathuze and Umlalazi river bridges as well as high rainfall experienced.
‘Once the project is completed, the agricultural overpasses over the N2 would have been lengthened, new bridges would have been built at the R34 Empangeni and Richards Bay interchange and at the P537 Port Durnford underpass.
‘Two road-over-rail bridges would have been constructed and 16 major box culverts and numerous minor box culverts and other drainage structures would also have been built.
‘In addition, the height of two overpasses would have been increased by jacking up the bridges,’ Roux said.
The engineers on the project, UWP Consulting said the structures are largely complete, with only the deck of the Empangeni road-over-rail bridge still to be cast.
Roux said since the start of the contract 37 subcontractors have been employed by the main contractor, Concor Infrastructure of which 23 have been Small, Medium & Micro Enterprise Businesses (SMMEs), who have been paid R76-million.
‘A maximum of 541 people have been employed at any one time, with 428 coming from within the local municipal target areas.’
This R946-million project is one of the biggest road infrastructure developments being undertaken by SANRAL in KZN and is aimed at coping with the increased traffic volumes on one of the country’s key arterial roads.
Roux said the current traffic volumes on the N2 south of Empangeni exceed 12 000 vehicles per day with the highest traffic volumes occurring on the section between the Esikhaleni and Empangeni interchanges.
Empangeni interchange bridge
Slipforming a section of the median drain