M2 bridge maintenance on the horizon

CITY of Johannesburg executive mayor Clr Herman Mashaba took members of the media on a walkabout of structural defects on the Karzene and Selby sections of the M2 Bridge on August 20.

This comes after the Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA) alerted him to the urgent need for maintenance operations as its current condition poses a significant risk to the residents.

Built in the 1960s, the bridges are now near the end of its design lifespan, requiring urgent reconstruction and rehabilitation.

Mashaba said a bridge specialist service provider appointed by the JRA completed a detailed assessment for the M2 East Bridge Joint repair work. The report from the assessment consists of detailed defects, repairs cost estimates and detailed designs for repairs. The bridge column G18 and column head have severe cracks that have affected the structural integrity of the bridge very negatively.

“As an immediate measure, that part of the bridge is no longer in use until such a time all repairs are completed and is declared safe for use. The bridge has lived past its design lifespan and now requires reconstruction or rehabilitation. The condition of roads across the City of Johannesburg has been a matter of concern to me. Not only do they need to be safe for public use, but they are integral to connecting our residents who commute daily.

“M2 is one of the main motorways which links N3/N2 with the city and the western parts of Johannesburg. If the budget for rehabilitation is not carried out soon and the section of bridge collapses, M2 motorway will be closed to traffic and the congestion on roads around and in the inner city will dramatically increase. This, in turn, will have severe consequences on the economy and mobility of citizens and visitors of the City of Johannesburg,” he said.

Proposed construction methods will ensure minimum traffic disruptions to normal traffic. This project currently has no funding; JRA has to re-allocate the budget from other projects due to its urgency. Supply Chain Management (SCM) is in the process of appointing a contractor to start with repair work. It is envisaged that work will begin mid-October once all SCM processes are completed.

“The overall budget required to address the identified issues is approximately R58-million. The construction duration is estimated at 12 months. Only one lane will be closed during construction. We envisage to have most of the work done in the night. This will eliminate the need to close down the entire bridge. I appeal to residents to be patient once repairs commence as this is being done primarily to mitigate any loss of life as a result of continued neglect of providing adequate services to our residents,” noted Mashaba.

The City has 902 bridges that are maintained and managed by the JRA. With regards to their conditions only 22 are very good, 30 good, 143 fair, 557 poor and 150 are very poor.

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