Expected road closures due to sinkhole on R21
Pretoria, 16 February 2022 – The South African National Road Agency SOC Ltd (SANRAL) would like to notify the public and road users of possible road closures due to a new sinkhole that formed along the R21 near Olifantsfontein.
Two sinkholes formed on Monday afternoon just before 16h00 along the R21 northbound carriageway towards Pretoria, just after the Olifantsfontein interchange at R21 section 2 km3.2, according to Louw Kannemeyer, SANRAL’s Engineering Executive.
“One sinkhole developed just outside our road reserve fence boundary, and the second one immediately adjacent to the edge of the R21, penetrating about two meters underneath the road up to the slow lane and five to six meters deep currently,” said Kannemeyer.
Cracks also formed in the road surface in the outer two slow lanes, which called for the immediate closure of the outer two lanes of the road.
“Preliminary assessments have been performed by SANRAL engineers, and we are currently in process with the emergency appointment of the required geotechnical engineering specialists to assist with the specialist investigations required,” said Kannemeyer.
During this period, SANRAL will be installing New Jersey concrete barriers to ensure public safety (like applied at the N1 sinkhole) while awaiting the outcome of the investigations.
The lane closures will remain in place until the specialist investigations and remedial measures have been implemented, Kannemeyer said. How long that will take is dependent on extent of the sinkhole, which at this stage remains to be quantified.
“The R21 northbound will be reduced to two lanes in the direction of Pretoria just after the Olifantsfontein interchange for the foreseeable future, resulting in associated congestion during peak hour periods. Road users are advised to take this into account in their daily planning and consider alternative routes such as M18 and M57 which run parallel to the west of the R21 in the vicinity of the affected area,” he said.
SANRAL apologises for any inconvenience caused during this period and will continue to provide updates to road users as information becomes available.