The Mount Edgecombe Interchange in Durban.
  • Durban just added an architectural and engineering marvel to its portfolio of landmarks.
  • The newly upgraded Mount Edgecombe highway interchange connects the M41 eastbound with the N2 southbound.
  • The old interchange was known for long waiting times – which the upgrade is due to cut from 25 minutes to one minute, on average. 

*This article has been corrected, in the headline and below, to reflect the correct value of the bridge as R1.14 billion, and not R1.4 billion as originally reported.

Durban just added an impressive architectural and engineering marvel to its portfolio of landmarks. The Mount Edgecombe highway interchange was officially opened by transport minister Blade Nzimande and the South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) on Wednesday. 

The Mount Edgecombe Interchange linking the N2 and M41 highways. (SANRAL)

The interchange boasts a first for Africa, according to Sanral CEO Skhumbuzo Macozoma in an interview with the state broadcaster. He says it features the continent’s longest flyover ramp that stretches for one kilometre, linking the M41 eastbound with the N2 southbound, connecting surrounding areas like Phoenix and Umhlanga with Durban.

The Mt Edgecombe Interchange's flyover ramp stretches for about 1km and is dubbed Africa's longest. (SANRAL)

The agency undertook major upgrades to the interchange from April 2013 to ease "chronic congestion of traffic" in the area, notorious for long waiting times, especially during the festive season, when South Africans flock to the coastal region.

The agency intends cutting travel time between the areas the interchange links from 25 minutes to one minute on average. The old interchange had traffic lights increasing waiting time; it has now been converted to a completely free-flowing system with limited stops, says Henk Kaal, resident engineer on the project.

See also: Africa’s second longest main span bridge is to be built in the Eastern Cape – this is what it will look like

These are 5 interesting facts about the new Mount Edgecombe highway interchange.

1. It's a completely free-flowing, four-level interchange.

A 3D model of the Mt Edgecombe highway interchange. (SANRAL)

2. It has a total of nine bridges.

Some of Mt Edgecombe's bridges. (SANRAL)

3. It features state-of-the-art lighting with new LED technology designed to use little electricity.

LED lights along the Mt Edgecombe highway interchange. (SANRAL)

The Mt Edgecombe highway interchange is lit by 400 light bulbs. (SANRAL)

4. The flyover bridge, referred to as B0215, is Africa’s longest, and measures about one kilometre.

Mt Edgecombe highway interchange's flyover bridge during construction. (SANRAL)

5. The budget for the project ballooned to R1.14 billion from R800 million.

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