South Africa awards N2 Wild Coast Bridge Tender to Stabag JV
The tender for the much anticipated Mtentu bridge, which forms part of the N2 Wild Coast road (N2WC) project has been awarded, the South African National Roads Agency SOC Ltd (SANRAL) announced today.
Construction of the bridge is set to start in early November 2017, and is scheduled to last approximately 40 months.
“The tender, valued at R1.634 billion (incl. VAT), has been awarded to the Aveng Strabag Joint Venture (JV). The JV partners consist of Aveng Grinaker-LTA, a major South African-based construction company and Strabag, a leading construction company in Europe with extensive experience in major balanced cantilever methodology bridge construction,” Vusi Mona, SANRAL’s Communications Manager said.
As 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 220m. “Critically, it is going to create employment and business opportunities in the area. The whole of the project will be a growth engine for the Eastern Cape both during and post construction,” Mona said.
“While our focus is clearly on the European market, we do occasionally execute projects outside of Europe in which we can especially apply our technical know-how. With this in mind, we look forward to realising Africa’s highest bridge together with a local partner,” says Thomas Birtel, CEO of STRABAG SE.
The project will be executed using two bridge building methods. The northern and southern portions of the bridge will be built using incremental launching, the centre using the balanced cantilever method. The completed bridge will stand on a total of 13 piers. The construction of the 1.1km long bridge in a remote location is a major undertaking that requires specialised engineering skills and building techniques.
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 (PICC) and one of government’s 18 Strategic Integrated Projects (SIPs) to support economic development and address service delivery in the poorest provinces.
Building of 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,” he said.
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.
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. 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 said. A new tender for the Msikaba bridge will be advertised within the next two to three months.