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Keeping traffic disruption to an absolute minimum
Affecting two major highways, the main focus of the project is to keep traffic disruption to an absolute minimum by building a bridge on the N2 Northbound freeway. The main challenges were space constraints caused by the nearby Umgeni River and the adjacent residential and commercial developments.
The standard segmental method of bridge building for two directional ramps at the intersection was therefore scrapped in favor of the innovative method known as incremental launch. This method entails building the entire bridge deck from one end of the structure and eliminating the need for formwork, thereby allowing traffic flow to continue uninterrupted.
232m long and 205 m long bridges
Incremental launch technology involves sliding sections of bridge deck over special bearings, namely concrete blocks covered with stainless steel and reinforced elastomeric pads. The first such bridge constructed was 232m long, from Umgeni Road onto the N2 Northbound, while the second measured 205m from the N2 Northbound onto Umgeni Road.
Anti-corrosion coating and bonding agent
Sika South Africa supplied the project with SikaPlast V210, an aqueous polymer solution that is a multi-purpose water reducer and superplasticizer for shotcrete, and SikaTard-930, a retarding concrete admixture developed for the control of cement hydration. Sikadur was applied to the base plates of the supporting columns used in the incremental launch method of bridge construction. As a concrete-curing compound, Sika Antisol-E was sprayed onto all bridge decks and columns to prevent premature water loss. Exposed rebars were protected by SikaTop-Armatec 110 EpoCem, an anti-corrosion coating and bonding agent that provides excellent adhesion to steel and concrete.
14,000 vehicles during morning peak hours
When construction on the ZAR 352 million project commenced in March 2011, three of the neighboring communities benefitted greatly as local labor was used to fill 150 newly created jobs. The Umgeni Interchange upgrade, which is nearing completion, will significantly alleviate traffic congestion by allowing the free flow of approximately 14,000 vehicles during morning peak hours and some 16,000 vehicles during afternoon peak hours.
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