N3 link upgrade takes shape

2010-11-15 00:00

CITY residents cannot help but notice the huge rock and soil structure taking shape beside the Chota Motala/Church Street bridge over the N3.

A spokesperson for the agency in charge of the project, the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral), said the structure is a new ramp forming part of the multi-level interchange that will eventually make the area’s traffic congestion problems nothing but a bad memory.

The new on-ramp being constructed, Ramp B in the graphic, will take traffic coming from town on Church Street off Chota Motala Road and on to the north-bound N3 towards Johannesburg.

It will also support the new slipway (Ramp E) carrying traffic from the northern suburbs on Chota Motala over Du Toit Viljoen Road that runs parallel to the highway.

This on-ramp will steepen up in order to gain height sufficiently to lead north-bound traffic via a curved, incrementally-launched bridge, over the new widened Chota Motala bridge, over the N3, and back down, where it joins the N3 northbound carriageway.

When completed, the structure will be 18 metres high and 400 metres long and will have taken 160 000 cubic metres of rock and soil carried in more than 20 000 truck loads.

The material is transported from Holcim Quarry on the Greytown Road. It is overburden or surplus material, so using it on the upgrade project is a win-win for both parties.

Once all the material is in place, the contractor, Group 5 Joint Venture, will be able to start manufacturing the concrete deck of the Ramp E bridge. The ramps will be jacked over the Chota Motala Bridge towards the Greytown side of the N3.

Piles are currently being driven into the ground to support the piers of this bridge.

The fluted piers for new wider and larger Chota Motala bridge are also being built, and if work goes according to plan, the first batch of beams will be lifted into place over the N3 on Saturday, December 4.

In its concrete construction yard opposite the Northway Mall, the contractors are manufacturing all the beams required for the five bridges to be built: Chota Motala, Du Toit Viljoen, Ramp E, Willowton railway and Dorpspruit.

Close to six kilometres of concrete median barriers for the centre median are also being manufactured.

Some eight kilometres of precast concrete barriers for controlling traffic through the construction site are being shipped in from around the country. Work on widening the Dorpspruit bridge is going on and the first beams should be lifted into place next month.

Sanral said work has been delayed by having to remove and relocate services like water mains sewers and electrical, Telkom and Neotel lines.

The construction team, however, expects to start widening Chota Motala Road on the eastern, Greytown side of the N3 early in 2011.

Work on the project will stop for the builders’ shutdown from December 16 to January 8, 2011.

What’s going on: Constructing new highway on-ramp; driving support piles for ramp; widening Dorpspruit bridge; and building piers to support wider Chota Motala bridge

Ramp dimensions: 18 m high, 400 m long

Material required: 160 000 m3 of rock and soil

Transported in: more than 20 000 truck loads

Concrete construction: 6 km of median barriers, beams for five bridges

Construction shut-down: December 16 to January 8, 2011

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