With the summit at 26m, the Mt Edgecombe Interchange is an impressive structure. The multiple engineering achievements behind this mammoth project are testimony to the exceptional skill and abilities of the entire construction team. The project engaged 80 designers at the peak of the design phase. 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 as possible. A defining feature of this project is one of the longest bridge viaducts ever constructed in South Africa. This viaduct, referred to as B0215, has a deck length of 947 m, which also makes it one of the longest incrementally launched bridges in the Southern Hemisphere.
Resident engineer Henk Kaal said although there was a lot of skepticism about the project ever being completed, motorists are now beginning to smile as they start enjoying the improved traffic flow. Although the initial completion time line for the project was three years, it stretched into the fifth year due to factors including torrential rainfall, which led to long stoppages on the project.
The project which started in April 2013 is expected to be substantially complete by June 2018.
- Budget: R800 million, escalated to just under R900 million
- SMME allocation: 21
- Project specifics: Upgrade from two-level to four-level interchange
- Impact on motorists: Reduced travel time expected from 25 minutes to one minute on average
- Lighting: 400 light bulbs
- Cable: More than 20 000 metres of copper cable used.
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, says the electrical reticulation for the interchange includes a distribution substation as well as six mini substations. “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.