Engineering innovation sets new standards
While the project boasts many examples of engineering excellence, its most iconic features are the two upper-level ramp viaducts. One of these, Bridge B0215, has a deck length of 947 metres, which makes it the longest incrementally launched bridge in the Southern hemisphere, as well as the longest bridge structure to ever be built in South Africa.
What sets the bridge apart, however, is that it was constructed in two decks, which were both incrementally launched from opposite sides and designed to meet in the centre. Ensuring that the two decks would meet up within dimension tolerances required innovative design, precision survey work, and sound construction management.
The final position of the decks was 7mm from the design position transversely, and 0mm from the design level vertically. Given their size and the fact these decks were launched from opposite ends, this accurate final position is a testimony to the intricate workmanship and world class engineering capabilities of SMEC’s specialists in South Africa.
A vital artery in both transportation and economic systems
The Mt Edgecombe Interchange is on the N3 at Umhlanga, KwaZulu-Natal, one of the fastest developing areas of South Africa. This consideration played a major role in the conceptual design to ensure that the interchange would aesthetically complement its fast-paced modern surroundings; stand the test of time in terms of life-span; and have capacity for the ever-increasing traffic demands.
In addition to its status as a civil engineering work of art, the upgraded interchange has changed the landscape in more ways than one. It is contributing significantly to easing traffic congestion, supporting safer road travel, and enabling economic growth.