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Next phase of M1 rehab gets underway

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The Johannesburg Road Agency (JRA)’s major rehabilitation to three bridges on the M1 freeway is soon to enter its second phase. The construction will lead to significant long-term improvements to the City of Johannesburg’s freeway network – but this phase will also cause inevitable short-term disruptions to traffic and delays for road users.
The two sections of the road most affected will be the iconic double decker section of the M1, between Carr and Anderson streets in the city centre where work will include rehabilitation and structural repairs, asphalt surfacing, expansion joints, drainage systems and new road signs.
In addition, the Federation and Oxford bridges are also undergoing major facelifts. A 2km section of dual carriage freeway between Rockridge and Federation Roads is being rehabilitated and the existing storm water drainage system in the area replaced. Certain lanes on the freeway will be closed during construction and traffic will be diverted until 2017.
Councillor Christine Walters, the member of the mayoral committee for transport, says the freeway revitalisation project forms part of Johannesburg’s investment of more than R100-billion in strategic infrastructure over a 10-year period.
“A world-class city must be served by world-class infrastructure,” she says. “The upgrades we are doing now will benefit Joburgers for decades to come and ensure the safe movement of people, goods and services.
“This section of the freeway is a key arterial route through the heart of Johannesburg daily carrying approximately 80 000 private cars, commercial traffic and public transport – such as buses and taxis – all vital to the growth of southern Africa’s most important economic hub,” she adds.
Road users are urged to be aware of when and where the major construction activities will take place and to plan their journeys in advance. Delays will occur but this can be mitigated through the greater use of public transport and the selection of alternative routes in the area.
Mobile applications that can be downloaded will assist commuters in choosing the best roads and travel times and detailed information will be freely available on the JRA website, print, electronic and social media and through traffic updates on radio stations.
“We apologise in advance for disruptions and delays, but also assure road users that we are doing everything we can to minimise the inconvenience and ensure safe journeys for all,” says MMC Walters. “We also call on everybody to display patience and courtesy towards their fellow road users, to obey road signs and to be on the lookout for construction activities, especially at night times.”
Mpho Kau, acting MD of the Johannesburg Roads Agency, says the R210-million combined cost of the revitalisation project’s on Oxford and Federation bridges will be concluded by February 2017 while improvements on the double decker section will finish in May 2017.
The work will have an impact on traffic along one of the busiest freeways in Africa and the JRA is putting in place a comprehensive plan to mitigate the impact and cause the minimum levels of disruption, he says.
During the construction period certain changes will be made:
* The northbound carriageway of the M1 – carrying traffic from Soweto and the M2 – will be reduced to two lanes between the St Andrews off-ramps and Killarney as from 29 February 2016 until 31 December 2016;
* The southbound carriageway of the M1 – carrying traffic from Midrand – will be reduced to two lanes between the Killarney and St Andrews off-ramps as from 3 April 2016 until 31 December 2016;
* The southern on-ramp onto the M1 from Oxford Road will be closed at Ettrick Road from 3 April 2016;
* The Oxford Road off ramp from the M1 travelling northbound to be closed from 13 August 2016;
* Certain lanes on the double decker section will be closed until 6 July 2017 during weekdays between 09:30 and 14:30. The construction will be halted during morning and afternoon peak hours – but work will be stepped up in the evenings and over weekends.
Kau calls on Joburg road users to familiarise themselves with the lane reductions, to plan their journeys in advance and to consider alternative routes.
He adds that the construction project is the largest of its kind ever managed by the Johannesburg Roads Agency. “We are proud to lead this investment of the city and confident that it will contribute to the quality of life of residents and the safety of all commuters who use our road network.”