One of Joburg’s major roads, the M2, will be shut until October because it needs to be rehabilitated, and it’s not the only road with a bridge that has structural defects.
Mayor Herman Mashaba said this week that the overall acceptable condition indices for bridges in a very good and good condition should be minimum 80%. But only 5.77% of the bridges in Johannesburg are in this acceptable condition – 78.38% of them are in a poor or very poor condition.
“This means the conditions of the bridges have deteriorated to an alarming state,” Mashaba said.
Since 2013, 37 bridges have collapsed during raining seasons.
Built in the 1960s, the bridges have neared the end of their design lifespan, requiring urgent reconstruction and rehabilitation.
Mashaba announced this week that the M2 motorway between Crown Interchange and Maritzburg Street would be closed from February 28 to allow for bridge rehabilitation to resume. The bridge will be closed until the end of October.
The mayor said that following an investigation, various structural defects were detected at the bridge which posed a significant risk to residents and motorists.
“[I] conducted a site visit to the bridge late last year to inspect the concerning condition of the bridge. At the time, parts of the bridge had to be temporarily closed in order to have the bridge rehabilitated so as to ensure the safety of our residents. Upon my own investigation, various defects were detected at the bridges, posing significant risk to our residents,” Mashaba said.
The city has 902 bridges that are maintained and managed by the Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA). The agency said that parts of the support structure of the M2 Crown Interchange and Maritzburg motorway had moved and that this had affected the structural stability of some bridges on the M2 motorway.
Graphical representation of the state of bridge network in Johannesburg.
A specialist appointed by JRA completed detailed assessments of the affected sections of the bridges which suffer from severe cracks.
“Since coming into office, I have been concerned about the massive infrastructure backlog which was allowed to accumulate within the city. Indeed, previous administrations allowed for a R6.5 billion backlog in our bridge infrastructure. In a survey conducted in 2017, 3900km of our road network fell into the poor or very poor condition,” Mashaba said.
The city, meanwhile, has provided measures to accommodate traffic during the period of closure as follows:
The following onramps will be closed:
1. Main Reef Road onramp on to the M2 eastbound
2. M1 approaching from the south, ramp on to the M2 eastbound
3. M1 approaching from the north, ramp on to the M2 eastbound
4. Simmonds Street onramp on to the M2 eastbound
5. Eloff Street onramp on to the M2 eastbound
6. Heidelberg Road onramp on to the M2 westbound from the south and the north
7. Heidelberg Road onramp on to the M2 eastbound from the north
8. Wemmer Pan Road onramp on to the M2 westbound
9. Eloff Street onramp on to the M2 westbound
10. Booysens Road onramp on to the M2 westbound
11. M2 onramp on to the M1 travelling north
The following access points will be available to and from the M2:
1. Village Road offramp
2. Heidelberg Road northern onramp on to the M2 eastbound
3. Maritzburg Street offramp
4. West Street onramp on to the M2 travelling west towards Main Reef or south towards Soweto.