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Relief for Joburg motorists as M2 reopened for traffic after bridge repair

The M2 Motorway, which was already over 60 years old and had already outlasted the average age of bridge structures, carries approximately 10, 500 vehicles per hour – in both directions – during peak hours. It was reopened on 31 October 2019 following its extensive and necessary rehabilitation, which cost an estimated R160 million. Photo supplied.

The vital M2 Motorway which rings Johannesburg was reopened by outgoing Executive Mayor Herman Mashaba on Thursday 31 October in Selby Village. He and other dignitaries cut the ribbon on the project after eight months of repairs.

In August 2018 the Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA) undertook emergency repairs as a matter of urgency to a section of the M2 Motorway to avert a potential disaster. The M2 was closed after assessments revealed that the structural integrity was severely reduced due to design defects and water ingress of the concrete structure.

The M2, which normally carries between 10,500 and 12,000 vehicles an hour, will officially be open to commuters on 4 November and has cost the City close to R160-million to refurbish.

Two bridge decks on either side of Selby and four pillars had to be demolished and reconstructed. In Kaserne, repairs to a bridge deck collapse, which affected the bridge joint repairs, were completed at the end of September.

The space between here (Selby) and Kaserne, which is 4.8km, has also been resurfaced and we have used modified asphalt which has waterproofing properties so that we do not have similar problems like before,” said Siya Nodu, acting managing director at the JRA.

Siyabonga Genu, head of infrastructure at the JRA and responsible for co-ordinating the construction, said there had been good co-ordination and commitment from engineers and the contractor, hence the project having been finished on time. “I’ve been involved in infrastructural projects for the past 15 years. This is the very first time that we managed to complete a construction project on schedule,” he said.

We spent R155-million on the structural repairs, R126-million was spent on the Selby bridge and about R29-million on Kaserne.”

The JRA then took a decision to renew the entire 4km in the section between Selby and Kaserne, with resurfacing costing R34-million.

We are confident that the new structures we have built now will give us another 50 years if we make proper routine maintenance. The resurfacing should give us another five to eight years before we have to resurface again,” he said.

I want to express my appreciation to the JRA for delivering on the commitment to the public. This was an extremely complex project, resource- and communication-intensive, and I am highly appreciative of the professional manner that we all worked to deliver on time and within budget,” said Mayoral Committee Member for Transport Nonhlanhla Makhuba.

Former Inkatha leader and home affairs minister, Mangosuthu Buthelezi, said that the single rule of transport has been observed, which was “safety first”.

As someone who spends an enormous time on the road, I share the sense of relief and celebration. This is a fitting way to mark the last day of Transport Month. Despite the inconvenience, we need to thank the City of Johannesburg and JRA for their very timely intervention,” he said.

Gauteng Premier David Makhura said that getting the infrastructure story right was a very important part of fixing the economy.

I was with the mayor on Tuesday and together we jointly addressed a very important conference of investors, the Southern Africa-Europe CEOs’ Dialogue in Sandton… we were putting a case for our country and why it is the best place to invest… to investors from Germany, Italy, France and Spain. We now host this conference together with the City of Johannesburg annually,” he said.

At this moment I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to MMC Makhuba for her exemplary political leadership and making sure that the difficult project received all the necessary backing to reach completion,” said Mashaba. DM

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