The Cornubia Bridge, a key component of eThekwini’s GO!Durban IRPTN network which crosses the N2 highway linking onto uMhlanga Ridge Boulevard is about to open to traffic and will complete the primary access into Cornubia with direct access from the N2 as well as providing an additional alternative access into uMhlanga Ridge.
Planned to accommodate both the C8 and C9 GO!Durban networks from the airport and Bridge City respectively, the Cornubia Bridge fulfils a number of functions, not least of which is to open up Cornubia directly from uMhlanga – boding well for investment aspirations in Cornubia Town Centre, Cornubia Business Estate and the housing projects in uMhlanga Hills.
The bridge structure is 125 metres long and 50 metres wide. It represents a significant engineering feat and comprises three individual bridges that were “stitched together” to form a single structure carrying six mixed-use traffic lanes as well as pedestrian sidewalks and two bus lanes, according to Project Engineer, Brian Downie.
Tongaat Hulett Developments executive Selemo Sefehle said that the opening of the R280 million flyover, which was a joint venture between Tongaat Hulett and the eThekwini Municipality, was not so much about moving traffic as it was about facilitating the creation of inclusive, compact urban precincts, linking people to opportunities and accelerating development potential. Improved accessibility to Cornubia and uMhlanga Ridge would further enhance investment in the region, he said.
“The bridge over the N2, with its dedicated bus lanes, has been a vital key in unlocking the development of the C9 route from KwaMashu to uMhlanga for the GO!Durban integrated public transport network,” says Thami Manyathi, Head of the eThekwini Transport Authority. “The eThekwini Municipality vision for the new transport network, which links the entire City, is driven by the need to redress the imbalances of the past and propel the economy forward. Areas that have been historically segregated are now being linked. This means better access to opportunities, as well as the potential for economic activities to develop around the transport nodes. The bridge is a great reminder that the improvement of public transport is not about infrastructure and roads, but about the connections and links human beings are able to make with people and places.”
Downie said that the Cornubia flyover was a good example of proactive planning on behalf of and the eThekwini Municipality.
“Positive development thrives on good infrastructure. The current success of uMhlanga / Cornubia began with the construction of the N2 (Durban Outer Ring Road) and has continued with constant upgrades to the roads system,” he explained.
The Mount Edgecombe interchange – which opened earlier this year and was funded by SANRAL, eThekwini Municipality and the KZN Department of Transport – has already impacted positively on business confidence in the area.
Not only has the interchange alleviated congestion that sometimes manifested in 2-kilometre-long queues on the N2 highway, but greatly improved the prospect of further investment in the region.
Konrad Kohler, a development manager at Fortress REIT, which is partnering with M&F Giuricich Developments in the development of the R1-billion Cornubia Ridge Logistics Park that is adjacent to the N2 and closest to the Cornubia flyover, said that the close proximity to the N2 had been integral to the developers’ decision to invest in the area in the first place. It would also be key to attracting blue chip tenants requiring easy access to major arterial routes between Durban and the King Shaka International Airport and Dube TradePort.
Work on the Cornubia Ridge Logistics Park began in February 2017. Platforms were created to allow for approximately 120 000m2 of logistics / retail development.
“The first tenant has been secured and we are currently constructing a 19 000m2 retail store for Makro which will be ready to trade in March next year. Plans have also been submitted for the first speculative warehouse of 22 000m2 and we wish to commence with construction early in 2019,” he said.
Sefehle said that construction of the Cornubia Bridge was in line with the shared vision between eThekwini and Tongaat Hulett Developments.
“Our vision was to establish Cornubia as an aspirational commercial and residential location. It meets all the criteria needed to attract tenants with specific needs and the opening of the Cornubia flyover will add considerably to establishing the area as a prime commercial opportunity. Tongaat Hulett Development’s focus is geared towards cities or spaces that are integrated, inclusionary and compact and which ultimately result in a more liveable city! We plan urban spaces by taking an all-inclusive approach. Transport infrastructure that facilitates the movement of people is a key part of this,” he said.