$1.52m set aside to upgrade bridges in Johannesburg

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US$1.52m will be invested into maintaining and upgrading bridges in Johannesburg. This will be undertaken by the Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA) and forms part of its maintenance plans for the city’s transport infrastructure.

The funds will be used in the replacement of bridge expansion joints. Mpho Kau, head of infrastructure development at the JRA, says the joints play a vital role in the maintenance of the city’s bridges. Moreover, increase in traffic, environmental factors and accidents have had a severe impact on the rate at which bridge components deteriorate.

The JRA said the rapid expansion of the city over the last 50 years has had a severe impact on the city’s aging infrastructure. Older bridges therefore require continuous monitoring and planned inspections to ensure their structural integrity, the JRA explained.

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Kau explained that bridge expansion joints are designed to allow for continuous traffic between structures while accommodating movement, shrinkage/expansion, and temperature variations on reinforced and pre-stressed concrete, composite, and steel structures.

“They stop the bridge from bending out of place in extreme conditions,” he says. “In bridge construction there are various types of expansion joints, which can accommodate movement range from 30mm to 500 millimetres.”

Kau said the replacement of 42 expansion joints were completed on 16 bridges as part of the JRA’s 2016/2017 infrastructure and planning budget.

Approximately $1.1m was also spent on the replacement of expansion joints on the following bridges: Anerly Road Bridge over the M1, Ballyclare Drive over Braamfonteinspruit, Jan Smuts Avenue River East, Melrose Street Bridge, William Nicol Bridge, Olifant Road Bridge, New Canada Road near Main Reef, New Canada Road over N17, Buccleuch Drive Over River, Rabie Street Bridge, Mangaan Street Bridge, Main Reef near New Canada Road, Main Reef near Turbine Road, M1 near Joe Slovo, Conrad Drive Bridge and New Canada Road near Railway