Interchange will resemble a massive cruise ship at night with state-of-the-art lighting spectacularly illuminating the concrete ramps.
The Mount Edgecombe Interchange is an impressive and thrilling structure, and the multiple engineering achievements behind this mammoth project are testament to the exceptional skill and abilities of the entire construction team.
The project engaged 80 designers at the peak of the design phase and not a single road was closed permanently during construction.
The Incrementally Launched Method of bridge building was used to create as little disruption to road users.
Project will increase capacity of interchange
A defining feature of this project is that it has one of the longest bridge viaducts ever constructed in South Africa.
This viaduct, referred to as B0215, has a deck length of 947 meters, which also makes it one of the longest incrementally launched bridges in the Southern Hemisphere.
This upgrade has forever changed the landscape, and will no doubt become a landmark.
Resident engineer Henk Kaal said although there was a lot of scepticism about the project ever getting completed, motorists are now beginning to smile as they start enjoying the improved flow of traffic.
Henk said the initial completion time line for the project was three years. However, it stretched into a fifth year due to several factors, including torrential rainfall, which led to long stoppages on the project.
The project which started in April 2013 with a budget of R800-million has risen to just under R900-million and was expected to be substantially complete by June 2018.
Assistant Resident Engineer Thabo Morolo said the project will increase the capacity of the interchange.
“As we progressed we had to do certain additional work to improve the project. We anticipate the final figure to be just under R900 million,” said Morolo.
Twenty-one SMMEs were allocated subcontracting work to an estimated value of just under R60-million.
The site office adjacent to the M41 has played host to over 1200 visiting students eager to align themselves with this world-class project.
LED lighting technology
The Mount Edgecombe interchange will resemble a massive cruise ship at night once hundreds of lights spectacularly illuminate the various concrete ramps.
Riaaz Goga, project manager for High Voltage Technology, said the electrical reticulation for the interchange includes a distribution substation as well as six mini substations.
In total there are 400 light fittings on the interchange and 20 000m of cable has been used.
“The lighting system is state-of-the-art. The new LED technology consumes minimum electricity. Also, attention has been paid to the positioning of the lights to protect motorists and pedestrians from glare,” he said.
The cable installation has been done in such a way that the wiring is concealed from public view using concrete sleeves. This is for the safety of motorists and to reduce the possibility of vandalism or theft.