DURBAN - The R1.14 billion Mount Edgecombe Interchange was officially opened by Minister of Transport Blade Nzimande.
The Minister described the interchange as “a veritable civil engineering work of art” and called it a fine example of infrastructure development that has a variety of spin-offs.
The new interchange is contributing greatly to reducing traffic congestion, promoting road safety and is also a significant business enabler.
The Minister said, "This ceremony comes between the stimulating announcement that occurred, last week Friday, of the promised inflow of investments totalling R290 billion that will jumpstart the economy".
The South African National Roads Agency SOC Ltd (SANRAL) awarded the contract for upgrading of the intersection of the N2 and M41 to ease chronic congestion.
SANRAL chief executive Skhumbuzo Macozoma said, "The R1,1 billion interchange which is one of the largest projects undertaken by SANRAL in KwaZulu-Natal is more than a masterpiece of award-winning architecture - it is a vital artery of the greater eThekwini metropolitan highway system and has greatly contributed to SMME development".
The new four-level interchange facility has at least two lanes on each of the major movements. The upgrade includes the implementation of directional ramps, cutting down the need for controlled signalisation, thereby ensuring free flow of traffic in all directions.
The construction is funded by both SANRAL and KwaZulu-Natal Department of Transport. The construction of the project was handled by the South African branch of Italian construction company CMC di Ravenna.
Two incrementally launched bridges are part of the interchange upgrade. One bridge which is 948m long is the longest incrementally launched bridge in South Africa. The other bridge is 440m long and joins the uMhlanga side of the M41 with the N2 North.
A pedestrian bridge with connected footways will be constructed over the N2 to ensure the safety of pedestrians.
Also, lighting has been out in to ensure the whole interchange is properly lit at night for increased safety.
The project engaged 80 designers at the peak of the design phase.
The improvement of roads has knock-on effects and it can assist in developing SMMEs and create jobs.
803 was the maximum number of people that worked on the project of which 724 were from the eThekwini target area. A total of R240 million was spent on wages to date.
A total of 31 sub-contractors have been employed with work to the value of R59 million performed by 21 SMMEs to date.
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