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The South African National Roads Agency SOC Ltd (Sanral) has announced that the tender for the Mtentu bridge, which forms part of the N2 Wild Coast road (N2WC) project, has been awarded to the Aveng Strabag Joint Venture (JV). The tender is valued at R1.634 billion.

The JV partners consist of Aveng Grinaker-LTA and Strabag, a leading construction company in Europe with extensive experience in major balanced cantilever methodology bridge construction. Construction of the bridge will start in early November and is scheduled to last approximately 40 months.

Sanral awards Wild Coast bridge tender

The Mtentu bridge will be one of the longest main span balanced cantilever bridges in the world and will reach heights of approximately 220m. Due to its remote location, the construction of the 1.1km long bridge is a major undertaking that requires specialised engineering skills and building techniques, according to Vusi Mona, Sanral’s Communications Manager.

The 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, he adds. “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 says the project will create jobs. “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.”

Sanral estimates that 8000 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) jobs will be created over the construction period. 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 earmarked for local SMMEs.

“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 explains.

Image credit: http://www.wildcoast.co.za/wild-coast-n2-highway-could-cost-over-r8bn-to-construct

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