Further improvements at the iconic Mount Edgecombe interchange will see an easing in traffic congestion.
There will be a further opening of new ramps at the Mt Edgecombe Interchange during the next week.
From Thursday 15 March, weather permitting, traffic travelling on the M41 from uMhlanga Ridge towards the N2 North and the King Shaka International Airport will be diverted onto the newly-constructed fly-over ramp, bypassing the current traffic lights on the M41.
The first ramp was opened to traffic on Monday 5 March, when motorists from Phoenix and Mt Edgecombe heading south towards Durban began using the one-kilometre long bridge.
Corné Roux, SANRAL Eastern Region project manager for the Mount Edgecombe Interchange, said that from Saturday 10 March, the traffic traveling on the N2 from Durban towards uMhlanga Ridge had been diverted onto part of the newly-constructed loop ramp, also enabling them to avoid the traffic lights on the M41.
Only one lane of the loop ramp will be open to traffic for the meantime.
Roux said: “Rehabilitation of the existing pavement layers in the slow lane of the M41 east bound is currently taking place. This work is expected to be completed in three weeks, weather permitting.”
He urged motorists to proceed with caution and to adhere to speed limits when using the new ramps as some lanes were still under construction.
Connecting the roads of the north
The iconic Mt Edgecombe Interchange forms part of the improvements being undertaken by the South African National Roads Agency (SOC) Limited (SANRAL) at the N2/M41 Mt Edgecombe Interchange in the north of Durban, connecting Phoenix and uMhlanga with Durban and the North Coast of KwaZulu-Natal.
The interchange, which is one of the largest projects presently being undertaken by SANRAL in KwaZulu-Natal, is more than just a masterpiece of award-winning architecture, it is a vital artery of the greater eThekwini metropolitan highway system for easing traffic, relieving congestion and, thus, also becoming a significant business enabler.
Due to the 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 N2 in peak hours.
An additional 40 000 vehicles enter or leave the N2 from the M41 daily resulting in substantial queuing of vehicles during the day.
This, together with expected future expansions and anticipated 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.
More than just an interchange
The Mt Edgecombe interchange upgrade has changed the landscape of the area forever and is sure to become a well-known landmark in years to come.
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 the free flow of traffic in all directions.
The construction has been jointly funded by SANRAL and KwaZulu-Natal Department of Transport.
Bridging the gap
Two bridges, which are being incrementally launched, are part of the interchange upgrade. One of the bridges, which is 948m in length – the longest incrementally launched bridge in South Africa – joins the Mt Edgecombe side of the M41 with the N2 South. The other bridge spans 440m 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.
In addition, lighting will be installed to ensure the whole interchange is illuminated at night for increased safety.