South Africa has reopened the M2 highway following a US $11m overhaul that lasted nearly eight months. Motorists will no longer need to battle congestion, detours and frustrations as they use the busy road that connects Johannesburg city and other surrounding towns.
M2 highway reconstruction
The M2 motorway, which is more than 60 years old, carries approximately 10 500 vehicles per hour in both directions during peak hours. The closure was necessitated after continuous monitoring and the bridge visual conditions assessment, which indicated that the structural integrity of the concrete elements was severely reduced. The safety of the Selby and Karsene bridges also could not be guaranteed.
The scope of work
The scope of the work at the Selby Bridge entailed the demolition and reconstruction of four filed concrete columns and column heads, installation of new waterproofed bridge joints and waterproofing of the existing bridge deck. The failed columns and column heads were due to the ingress of water into concrete structures, which led to the formation of cracks.
At Karsene Bridge, the scope included the demolition and repairing of the bridge deck and corbels and installation of new waterproofed bridge joints. The failed support system resulted in the bridge deck having worrying movements which urgently needed attention. During the construction project, 57 local residents and seven SMME contractors were employed.
Reopening of the road
Senior Superintendent Wayne Minnar who is also JMPD spokesperson recalled how 300 officers had to be deployed every morning and afternoon to deal with traffic congestion since the start of the reconstruction early this year.
According to the outgoing City of Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba, the reopening of the M2 motorway, as scheduled, is one of his proudest moments as the mayor of the City of Johannesburg. “It is the culmination of many months of sheer hard work by engineers and construction workers led by the Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA),” he added.
Mashaba explained that he took a hard decision in August 2018 to close the M2 motorway to pave way for reconstruction of the road due to the perilous condition pf the bridge. The M2 was closed between the Crown Interchange and Maritzburg Street on February 28, 2019, for rehabilitation. “It was a particularly tricky decision to make when you take into consideration the ramifications of closing a key motorway linking the east and west of our city,” Mashaba said.