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‘There’s going to be pain’: Jo’burg set for M1 upgrade

Johannesburg’s road users will have their patience tested more than usual when the city’s M1 and connector bridges are upgraded in the months to come.

The Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA) is launching the second phase of the M1 freeway and bridges rehabilitation project, which will result in some traffic disruptions.

During a media briefing hosted by the JRA in Parktown on Thursday, city councillor Christine Walters described the M1 as vital to the city’s economy – “a key arterial route through the heart of Johannesburg … vital to the growth of Southern Africa’s most important economic hub”.

Up to 10 000 cars and 120 000 people in public transport vehicles use the M1 every hour, so the upgrades are vital to safeguard the continued movement of goods, people and services, Walters said.

“There is going to be pain, there is going to be discomfort, but it’s necessary, although it’s going to be a challenging task for us,” she said.

The Oxford and Federation roads bridges will be affected the most. The water drainage system on the dual carriageway between them is already being replaced.

The iconic double-decker part of the M1 between Anderson and Carr streets in central Johannesburg will also be severely affected. The upgrades will include work on the expansion joints and the drainage system, as well as structural repairs, rehabilitation, tarring and new road signs.

Motorists can expect lane closures and traffic diversions in the vicinity of these parts of the M1 until 2017.

Other affected areas are:

• The M1 northbound carriageway: From February 29 to December 31 2016, road users will have only two lanes at their disposal between the Killarney and St Andrews off-ramps. This route carries traffic from the M2 and Soweto;

• The M1 southbound carriageway: From April 3 to December 31 2016, it will be reduced to two lanes between the St Andrews and Killarney off-ramps. This route services traffic largely coming from Midrand;

• The M1 south on-ramp from Oxford Road: This will be closed at Ettrick Road from April 3 2016 until further notice;

• The M1 north off-ramp from Oxford Road: This will be closed from August 13 2016 until further notice; and

• Some lanes on the double-decker section will be closed off until July 6 2017 during the week from 9.30am to 2.30pm.

The JRA’s managing director, Mpho Kau, said the improvements on the double-decker section are likely to be finished by May next year and the work on the Federation and Oxford roads bridges should be concluded in a year’s time. The two sections alone will cost the city R210-million.

The overall project is part of the city’s decade-long, R100-billion infrastructure project.

Road users can expect to add at least 30 minutes to an hour to their daily commutes and are asked to use alternative routes or public transport, and familiarise themselves with lane closures and reductions.

Road users can stay updated with developments in the following ways:

Website: jra.org.za

Twitter: @MyJRA

Facebook: Johannesburg Roads Agency

Email: [email protected]

Mobile app: JRA Fin&Fix

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Nelly Shamase
Nelly is a regular contributor to the Mail & Guardian.

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