A BRIDGE TOO FAR?
Behind Joburg’s broken bridges
The closure of the M2 freeway in Joburg is symptomatic of a wider problem: 94% of the city's bridges are in questionable condition
Joburg’s M2 motorway carries about 12,000 vehicles a day. At least, it did until February 28, when the city summarily shut the highway between the Crown Interchange and Maritzburg Street for urgent repairs, citing structural instability. The chaos and confusion caused by the diversion of that traffic through the city is mirrored in the state of SA’s infrastructure — electricity, rail and roads. And bridges, it seems, have not escaped the general malaise. According to the City of Joburg, only 6% of its 902 bridges are in good condition. That leaves 94% in a more questionable state — 16% in fair condition, 62% in poor condition and 16% in very poor condition, says city spokesperson Luyanda Mfeka. And mayor Herman Mashaba says 37 bridges in the city have collapsed in rainy seasons since 2013. Those in the worst condition are in Soweto and areas such as Glenvista, Ormonde, City Deep, Benrose and Kensington, says Mfeka. But a recent Carte Blanche investigation also pointed to structural ...