A ribbon-cutting ceremony, held by the Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA) in Parktown, signalled the reopening as well as the launch of South Africa’s annual Transport Month.
The completion of the R140 million structural rehabilitation project, initially scheduled for September 2016, was delayed due to geotechnical complications, according to a press release from the office of mayor Herman Mashaba.
Such complications occur when the soil beneath the roads is too weak for rehabilitation. A procedure called jet grouting was used to strengthen the new foundations.
Reopened in phases
The three-lane carriageways will be reopened in phases, with the M1 northbound stretch being reopened on Monday, October 9, while the southbound section will have its third lane restored by Monday, October 16. The Oxford road off-ramp will however remain closed for now.
“We are very much aware of the amount of frustration we’ve caused over the last 18 months,” said JRA operations manager Esther Schmidt.
“We are aware that we’ve made you late for work. We are aware that your children might have missed their first period of school, and we are aware that you could have even missed an interview. Obviously it’s not our intention and we don’t do it on purpose, and we do want to thank you for your patience,” Schmidt told reporters.
As part of the Transport Month launch, Schmidt explained the JRA’s latest projects, designed to improve driving conditions and the city’s economy.
These include a “no joints policy” in which all damaged cables are to be replaced, and placement of modems in traffic signals to enable technicians to repair broken traffic lights more efficiently.
Gauteng Premier David Makhura said: “All the municipalities have to understand that investing in and improving our roads and improving the public transport system is the number one key to unlock the functioning of our economy.”