The Oxford and Federation bridges project, initially anticipated for completion in February 2017, will now be extended to September 2017. Picture: Dumisani Sibeko / INLSA

Johannesburg - Motorists face an additional seven months of inconvenience on the M1 around the Killarney and double decker freeways. Labour unrest, financial woes of contractors and geotechnical problems have resulted in long delays.

Making the announcement on Thursday morning, Johannesburg Roads Agency managing director, Sean Phillips said although good progress has been made, there have been some unforeseen events which resulted in a need to extend the envisaged completion dates.

The Oxford and Federation bridges project, initially anticipated for completion in February 2017 will now be extended to September 2017. Improvements to the double decker section were originally envisaged to be completed by May 2017 but it is now anticipated that they will be completed by the end of 2017.

The causes of the delays on the Oxford and Federation bridges project, he said, have been sporadic labour unrest and unforeseen geotechnical complications. The labour unrest occurred between April and August and resulted in a loss of approximately six weeks. The geotechnical complications have resulted in an extension of the scope of the works, which accounts for the remainder of the extended construction period, he said.

“The delays in the double decker project have been caused by financial difficulties experienced by the contractor which resulted in the work stopping for a period of approximately four months. This has now been resolved and the contractor is back on site and work is again progressing well. This was the result of change in the exchange rate. Many of the components for repairs have to be purchased from overseas,” he said.

Night shift

The extension of the Oxford and Federation bridges project means that the M1 between Killarney bend and St Andrews will remain with a limited number of lanes open for a longer period than previously announced. On the double decker, most of the work is being done at night to avoid disruption of traffic.

On the double decker section of the M1 - between Carr and Anderson streets in the city centre - the work includes rehabilitation and structural repairs, asphalt surfacing, expansion joints, drainage systems and new road signs. The Federation and Oxford bridges are also undergoing major facelifts. A 2km section of M1 freeway between Rockridge and Federation roads is being rehabilitated and the existing storm water drainage system in the area replaced.

The Star