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The R21 / P157 is a major north-south provincial route (with a freeway portion designated as a National Road) in eastern Gauteng Province, South Africa.[1] Built in the early 1970s, it remains one of two freeways (the other being the N1) linking Pretoria with Johannesburg, via the R24. As the eastern of the two freeways, it links the Pretoria city centre with OR Tambo International Airport, the N12 freeway, and Boksburg. Between the Solomon Mahlangu Drive on-ramp in Monument Park, Pretoria, and the N12 in Boksburg, the R21 / P157 is an 8 lane highway and motorway (freeway), with 4 lanes in each direction.[2] It has off-ramps leading to Irene, Olifantsfontein, Benoni, and Kempton Park, including a partial offramp to Atlas Road. The route intersects the N1 Eastern Pretoria Bypass near Centurion, the R24 near the airport, the N12 and N17 in Boksburg, and the N3 near Vosloorus on the East Rand, where it ends. The section from the N12 to the N3 is not a freeway. As early as the 1970s there were proposals to extend the R21 / P157 freeway further south and the freeway may be linked with the current eastern terminus of the M2 in Germiston in future.

Provincial route R21 shield

Provincial route R21
Route information
Maintained by SANRAL and GDRT
Length67.6 km (42.0 mi)
Major junctions
North endNelson Mandela Street in Pretoria
  N1 in Centurion
R25 near Tembisa
R23 near Kempton Park
R24 at OR Tambo Int'l
N12 near Boksburg
R29 in Boksburg
N17 near Boksburg
South end N3 at Vosloorus
Major citiesPretoria, Centurion, Tembisa, Kempton Park, Boksburg, Vosloorus
Highway system
Numbered routes of South Africa

The R21 / P157 is the lowest "R" designated route number in South Africa, since numbers 1-18 have been reserved for national route numbers. However a portion of the R21 / P157 where is exists as a freeway, from Hans Strijdom Drive (now Solomon Mahlangu Drive) in Pretoria, to the N12 Freeway in the East Rand is both a National Road and a toll road, having been declared such in 2008, as part of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project,[3] when it was also transferred to the South African National Roads Agency.[4] The improvement project increased the number of lanes (previously, the freeway portion had been a dual carriageway freeway, with 2 lanes in each direction, from the Benoni Interchange to Pretoria), and installed lighting along the length of the freeway section.


Detailed RouteEdit

The R21 begins just north-east of Fountains Valley in Pretoria as Nelson Mandela Drive, at a roundabout intersection with the M18 Christina De Wit Avenue, M7, M5 and M3 roads of Pretoria, heading south-east. After Fountains Valley, the R21 passes by Monument Park. After Monument Park, the R21 becomes a National Road (the only "R" designated road in South Africa to be a Toll Road), with the first off-ramp being the M10 Solomon Mahlangu Drive (formerly Hans Strijdom Drive) near the Waterkloof Airforce Base. It is the road separating Pretoria East from Centurion.

Just after Solomon Mahlangu Drive, near Pierre van Ryneveld, the R21 intersects with the N1 Eastern Pretoria Bypass, which is the freeway between Johannesburg and Polokwane. The Interchange is named the Flying Saucer Interchange. After The N1 Road, the R21 Freeway has 10 off-ramps and interchanges for the remaining length of its freeway section. It passes through various suburbs in various cities.

The R21 Intersects with the M31 (Irene Off-ramp), R562 (Olifantsfontein Off-ramp), R25 (Birchleigh/Tembisa Off-ramp), R23 (Benoni Off-ramp), M32 (Pomona Off-ramp), M43 (Atlas Off-ramp), M96 (Kempton Park Central Off-ramp), R24 (O.R. Tambo International Airport Interchange), M41 (Jet Park Off-ramp) and N12 (Rietfontein Interchange).

After The M31 Irene off-ramp, the R21 leaves the City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality and enters the City of Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality. From The M31 Irene off-ramp up to just after O.R. Tambo International Airport, the R21 follows the M57 Metropolitan Route from north to south.

At O.R. Tambo International Airport south-east of Kempton Park Central, The R21 meets The R24, which Connects the airport with Johannesburg CBD. Via the R24, the R21 is the only freeway apart from the N1 Ben Schoeman Freeway/Danie Joubert Freeway that links Pretoria with Johannesburg.

North Of Boksburg, the R21 meets the N12 between Johannesburg and Witbank, which marks its end of being a freeway. The R21 becomes Rietfontein Road at the immediate next junction with the M44 by East Rand Mall. At Boksburg North, the R21 continues by way of a right turn at Rondebult Road. The R21 then meets the R29 (Cason Road) and continues south, bypassing Boksburg Central.

After Boksburg, the R21 crosses the N17 at Elspark and continues south through Sunward Park. After Sunward Park, the R21 goes south-south-east, meeting the R554 (North Boundary Road), to meet the M43 Road (Barry Marais Road) for the second time at a t-junction in Dawn Park.

The R21 and the M43 are co-signed south-west. As Bierman Road, The R21/M43 pass over the M35 Road (Germiston-Heidelberg Road), intersect with the R103, and end by Vosloorus at an intersection with the N3 Freeway between Johannesburg and Durban.

Albertina Sisulu FreewayEdit

As the R24 Freeway is known as the Albertina Sisulu Freeway in Ekurhuleni between Eastgate Shopping Centre and Johannesburg International Airport, the use of the name doesn't end there. The R21 is often also called the Albertina Sisulu Freeway, Particularly the section from the Johannesburg International Airport interchange north to the N1 Pretoria Eastern Bypass Flying Saucer interchange near Centurion and Pretoria in the City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality.[5]


External linksEdit