But many people don't know much about it as it comes closer to completion at the end of 2013. So what is it, why is it important, how much will it cost, and how does it work? Read on for the answers to all of those questions.
The South Road Superway is a 4.8 kilometre section of freeway which includes 2.8 kilometre of the elevated roadway that we have seen on U.S TV programs for years. It links the Port River Expressway to Regency Road, making travel from Gawler and northern areas to the city much faster via South Road.
The Superway passes over the Dry Creek to Port Adelaide railway, Cormack Road, Grand Junction Road and Days Road, with options to exit at Grand Junction Road and Days road.
Why build the Superway? Much of Adelaide's traffic passes in a north-south direction along South Road, and several bottlenecks have been identified as needing improvement. The end goal is to create a non-stop north-south corridor from Gawler to Old Noarlunga.
Adelaide has four major industrial transport hubs that all access South Road: Adelaide Airport, Islington Rail Terminal, Port Adelaide and Outer Harbour. Improving the traffic flow along South Road will have direct benefits for people in Adelaide, as well as for the economy of South Australia by improving transportation efficiency.
OK how much does it cost? The figures are a little rubbery until the project is completed, but the total cost of the South Road Superway is estimated to be $932 million, with the Federal government contributing $500 million and the State government contributing the balance for this infrastructure project.
How is the elevated part of the Superway made? The basic details of construction are quite simple. Concrete piles (30m long and 1m diameter) are driven into the ground. A 2m thick concrete pile cap is placed on the piles to distribute the weight of the Superway over the piles.
The 68 huge vertical support piers are the first visible part of the Superway - each weighs up to 464 tonnes and contains around 70 tonnes of reinforcing steel.
The piers support the individual segments which will form the carriageway (road), and which vary slightly in size and shape. More than 2200 segments will be needed, and each weighs between 68 and 90 tonnes.
All these components will combine to support three lanes of traffic in each direction over the 2.8km of elevated road. Traffic will travel at 18 metres above ground level at the highest point.
The bridge segments are made locally at a precast yard on South Road in Angle Park to minimise cost and logistics problems with transport. More than 300 workers are needed to produce segments, which are then transported by truck to the work site. A 140m long Launching Truss is used to add new segments to the existing elevated roadway, and the truss then moves along the road to remain at the unfinished end. In places where access is more difficult, a crane known as Snow White, or a pair of smaller Segment Lifters add new segments to the Superway.
For a much more detailed account of how assembly occurs, see here.
Interesting article I've worked on the bridge for the last two years and we should see traffic south bound on the bridge by the end of Jan 2014. But I cant wait for the section of road from Torrens road to the Torrens river to get going, it probably should have been done first .