The safe and convenient daily commute of more than 10 000 people between Alexandra township and the Sandton business district is close to reality with the imminent completion of the Grayston Drive bridge by the construction group, Concor, on behalf of its client, the Joburg Development Agency (JDA). The bridge, which is developed at a cost of R138 million, will be handed over to JDA (see above) and opened to pedestrians and cyclists by December 2017. The project was initiated as part of the City of Johannesburg’s strategy to improve mobility within the key nodes in the city.
“We conducted a study which established that in excess of 10,000 pedestrians and cyclists walked or cycled the 5.2 km from Alexandra to Sandton on a daily basis. The City then decided to formalise this walking route by making it safer and convenient, and the Great Walk project was born”, says Susan Monyai, acting Executive Manager: Marketing & Communications.
The concrete bridge was developed to link the community from the Wynberg side of Alexandra with the existing and upgraded pedestrian facilities on Katherine Street in Sandton. Dividing lanes separating cyclists and pedestrians have also been incorporated into the structure to enable easy movement between the two categories of users. The bridge also has many unique features that make it stand out, such as the 70m-high main pylon, which will “lean back” at an angle, with the cable stays angling down towards the deck in front and the anchor blocks at the back. The bridge will soon be a landmark point for residents and visitors to the city with its unique features, which will be enhanced by specially designed lighting at night.
Rodney Koch, strategic advisor to the Executive Deputy Chairman & CEO of Concor, says the construction company tasked with bringing this project to life was extremely excited about the imminent project completion, and the impact the bridge will have on the lives of people living and working in the area.
“This project is about bringing two parts of the city together in a manner that should improve the lives of users on both sides of the city. As Concor, we pride ourselves with the exceptional work done, and the use of leading construction techniques to ensure the success of the project. Concor has constructed many different bridge structures all across southern Africa over the years. Each of these projects are unique and comes with its own challenges. Our project team and the people involved in these projects have always come up with solutions to these challenges and delivered these projects successfully”, says Koch.
Concor was previously known as Murray & Roberts Construction, and was acquired by the Southern Palace Group. The effective date of this transaction was 1 April 2017 and in June 2017, Murray & Roberts Construction was renamed and rebranded as Concor. Southern Palace is a black-owned and managed diversified industrial holding company with interests in numerous well-established businesses.
Koch adds that the project also had a positive socio-economic impact in the local community through job creation and engagement of local enterprises. Some of the local SMMEs which benefitted during the construction phase of the project include Lwele Enterprise and Saissibo CC, which were contracted to install concrete block paving and vehicle barrier walls. There was also construction-related training and development for several local businesses.
The Grayston bridge was the site of the unfortunate collapse of the temporary support structure in October 2015. The DOL enquiry into the collapse resumed in September 2017 and is expected to be concluded in 2018.