Roadworks almost done

2017-11-07 06:00

Almost a decade of roadworks is finally coming to an end. The multi-million rand rehabilitation of Main Road is being completed in time for the summer season.

The City of Cape Town is wrapping up work on the project, with the final asphalt surface of Main Road completed on Wednesday, says Brett Herron, Mayco member for transport and urban development.

“We will be done with minor snags by the end of this week which will have little, if any, impact on the traffic. This is a major accomplishment, not only for the City, but also for residents and business owners who patiently endured the roadworks, traffic disruptions, and stop-go systems while we were working on the most challenging phase of the project,” he says.

The City started the first phase of the project – from Muizenberg to St James – in March 2008. Construction of the second phase – between St James and the Kalk Bay Harbour entrance – started in January 2011 and was completed in August 2013.

“We have nearly concluded this nine-year long project, with the overall investment amounting to about R340m. The project took place over three phases and we are almost done with the third and final phase. Road users will still see some activity next to the road while we are sorting some minor finishing to the footways. We are also busy with the upgrade of the parking area at the Kalk Bay harbour which should be completed before the builders’ holiday,” he says.

“The bulk of the R340m was spent on the rehabilitation of the road base layers and surfacing of Main Road from the intersection with Atlantic Road in Muizenberg to the intersection with Clovelly Road, the construction of a new retaining wall at Clovelly and replacing worn underground services such as the 100-year-old sewer pipes and 50-year-old water main at Clovelly. We also installed low-voltage electricity cables, new stormwater infrastructure and ­streetlights.”

The construction of a new retaining wall above the railway line in Clovelly posed the biggest challenge. Apart from making it possible to widen the road at this section, the retaining wall also serves as a support structure for Main Road. Thanks to the wider road, there is now parallel parking along the sea side and walkways on the mountain and sea side for pedestrians and cyclists all the way from Woolley’s Pool to the Silvermine River bridge.

“We have used state-of-the-art technology to stabilise and compact the soil to ensure that it has sufficient bearing capacity for the foundations of the retaining wall. This technology saved us up to six months’ working time. The retaining wall has been fitted with a handrail, and we will soon install a glass barrier along a short section where Metrorail’s overhead electricity cables are close to the footway,” says Herron.

This was a unique project, given the existing roadway’s long history dating back to the 19th century when the alignment of Main Road was first formalised and road drainage installed after the rail line was constructed to Kalk Bay in 1882, says Herron.

The kerbs and channels, for example, are constructed from hand-hewn local sandstone. During the rehabilitation of this section, the stones were lifted, stored and reused near where they had originally been.

“In fact, some of the stone kerbs and channels near the St James and Kalk Bay train stations had not been touched for nearly 140 years,” says Herron.

Main Road is one of only three access routes to the Far South and it currently carries about 20 000 vehicles per day.

“We estimate that the investment in Main Road will extend the life cycle of the road by at least another 20 years without the need for major maintenance,” he says.

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