N2 Wild Coast bridge construction to begin shortly | Infrastructure news

The tender for the Mtentu Bridge, which forms part of the N2 Wild Coast road (N2WC) project, has been awarded.

The first of its magnitude in South Africa, the Mtentu Bridge will be one of the longest main span balanced cantilever bridges in the world and will reach heights of approximately 220 m.

Construction of the Mtentu Bridge set to begin in November

Construction of the 1.1 km long bridge is set to start in early November 2017 and should last approximately 40 months. The remote location is a major undertaking that requires specialised engineering skills and building techniques.

Sanral last week announced that the R1.634 billion tender was awarded to the Aveng Strabag Joint Venture (JV). According to Vusi Mona, Sanral Communications Manager, the JV partners consist of major South African-based construction company Aveng Grinaker-LTA, and Strabag, a leading construction company in Europe with extensive experience in major balanced cantilever methodology bridge construction.

The bridge forms the backbone of greenfields portion of the N2WC road project – a national priority under coordination and direction of the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission and one of government’s 18 Strategic Integrated Projects to support economic development and address service delivery in the poorest provinces.

The Mtentu Bridge and the overall greenfields portion of the N2WC road project will play a vital role in improving travel time, connecting previously divided communities in the region and opening up opportunities in business and community-based tourism for the Wild Coast.

“By improving the travel time between Durban and East London by up to three hours for heavy freight and by providing a high mobility route through an area that is extremely isolated and underserved by road infrastructure, the route will have significant social and economic benefits and will act as a catalyst for local and regional development,” said Mona.

Job & skills creation

The N2WC road project will be a major job creator in an area with an extremely high unemployment rate. Sanral’s direct job creation forecast is 1.8 million man-days or 8 000 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) jobs over the construction period of four to five years.

“The whole of the project will be a growth engine for the Eastern Cape both during and post construction,” Mona said.

More than R400 million will be allocated to wages for unskilled, semi-skilled and skilled workers employed directly on the N2WC road project and a further R1.5 billion is destined for local SMMEs comprising of local contractors and local suppliers of goods and services to the road and bridge construction projects.

“SANRAL’s R120 million community development and SMME training programme project which is currently underway, is providing local labour and local SMMEs with the necessary skills to optimally participate in this and other forthcoming N2WC road project,” Mona said.

Msikaba Bridge

Meanwhile, SANRAL has announced that the tender for the Msikaba Bridge, set for construction near Lusikisiki, will be retendered due to the fact that the agency received no fully responsive tenders.

The Sanral Board resolved that the roads agency was obliged to retender the bridge rather than condone matters of non-compliance found in the bids that were received, Mona explained.

A new tender for the Msikaba Bridge will be advertised within the next two to three months.


Video source: Sanral Corporate


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