Minister of Transport Blade Nzimande, has described the iconic Mount Edgecombe Interchange, as “a veritable civil engineering work of art”.
Speaking at the official opening of the interchange last month Nzimande said the project was a fine example of infrastructure development that has multifarious spin-offs which include contributing greatly to easing traffic congestion, promoting road safety and also enabling business.
Commenting on the development Skhumbuzo Macozoma CEO of the South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) noted that the R1.1 billion interchange, which is one of the largest projects undertaken by SANRAL in KwaZulu-Natal, is more than a masterpiece of award-winning architecture – it is a vital artery of the greater eThekwini metropolitan highway system and has greatly contributed to SMME development.
The new four-level interchange facility provides at least two lanes on each of the major movements. The upgrade includes the implementation of directional ramps, eliminating the need for controlled signalisation, thus ensuring free flow of traffic in all directions.
Two incrementally launched bridges are part of the interchange upgrade. One bridge which is 948m long – the longest incrementally launched bridge in South Africa – joins the Mt Edgecombe side of the M41 with the N2 South. The other bridge is 440m long and joins the uMhlanga side of the M41 with the N2 North.
The 948m bridge has 23 piers and two abutments and was built from two ends – one portion launched on a curve and the other on a straight.
To provide for the safety of pedestrians, a pedestrian bridge has been constructed over the N2 and will connect to new footways.
Rapidly expanding area
With the rapid 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 M41 and onto the N2 in peak hours.
““This, together with expected future expansions and 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,” Macozoma explained.