Johannesburg - Congestion on major freeways in Gauteng will be drastically reduced when the construction of the Olifantsfontein Bridge is completed.
Speaking to BuaNews on Wednesday at the incremental launch of the Olifantsfontein Bridge on the N1 Freeway, project manager, Hennie Kotze said construction which is currently underway will be completed before the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
"We don't foresee major traffic congestion once this project will be completed. High volumes of traffic will be flowing freely and we believe this will also reduce fatal collisions on our freeways," he said.
An invitation was extended to members of the media on Tuesday by the South African National Roads Agency (SANRAL) to have an overview of the construction.
Mr Kotze said the construction is about providing two more additional lanes per direction. He's urged motorists to reduce their speed and to adhere to the road signs when they approach the construction site.
Engineer Derrick Hanekom told BuaNews the construction was currently 66 percent completed.
"We've launched segment four of six, we are on schedule and traffic will soon be flowing freely.
"We are not only focusing on adding extra lanes on the highways, but we are also improving the interchanges to prevent the delays which are currently being experienced," Mr Hanekom said.
The construction at the Olifantsfontein Bridge which is located at the Olifantsfontein interchange is part of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP).
The interchange currently carries the R562 (Olifantsfontein Road) over the N1 section 20 (Ben Schoeman between Samrand and New Road).
The existing bridge is being widened by the addition of a second bridge deck to upgrade the Olifantsfontein interchange.
Olifantsfontein Road, which passes over the widened bridge, consists of 5 lanes of 3.5m each and shoulders of 2.0m and a 600mm wide median island, resulting in a total carriageway width of 21.1m.
Pedestrian walkways of 2m wide each are provided, protected from the traffic by the so-called F-shape barriers.
The bridge is a four span continuous pre-stressed concrete voided slab with main span of 24.384m and end spans of 8.724m.
Aesthetically, the bridge deck is provided with long cantilevers to suit the existing bridge.
Substructures for the bridge comprise multiple column-type piers and spill-through abutments founded on spread footings.
The circular columns of the existing bridge will be modified to suit the columns of the new bridge.
The modified columns will also be used to jack the existing bridge deck to increase the substandard vertical clearance.
The Ben Schoeman Highway, which will celebrate its 40th birthday this year, is one of the busiest in the world, with more than 180 000 vehicles using the road during peak periods per day.
The construction of the Olifantsfontein Bridge, which started in August 2008, is estimated to cost R23.3 million.