Modern Quarrying

As Cape Town’s highways strain under ever-increasing traffic volumes, AfriSam is working with Cape contractor Martin & East and asphalt giant Much Asphalt to add an extra driving lane to one of the N1’s busiest sections through Bellville.

The project, commissioned by the Western Cape Department of Transport and Public Works in early 2016 and worth R514 million, hopes to make commuting quicker and safer for the 120,000 vehicles that use the route daily. The contract is one of the largest road projects yet undertaken by Martin & East, according to contracts manager Eitner Truter.

AfriSam in Cape N1 upgrade to ease traffic congestion

The UTFC stone specified for the contract is quarried and crushed at AfriSam's Rheebok Quarry.

For the 8 km from the Plattekloof Interchange to the R300 interchange, the contractor is surfacing the new lanes mainly with an ultra-thin friction course design (UTFC). This is being produced by Much Asphalt at its Contermanskloof Plant using a 9 mm and 13 mm cubical roadstone quarried, crushed and screened at AfriSam’s Rheebok Quarry.

This open graded mix allows water to drain off the road more effectively through the interconnected voids between the stones, says Truter, making for better tyre grip, less water spray and lower road noise.

As well as supplying aggregate to Much Asphalt for the road works, AfriSam is also providing Martin & East with readymix for a range of concrete applications. This includes in-situ median barrier units, 10 retaining structures on the outer edges of the highway, overhead gantry base structures, concrete lined v-drains and the rebuilding of the 60-year old bridge taking traffic over the N1 on Old Oak Road. The old bridge had to be demolished as the centre piers did not allow for widening of the highway into the median area. Modern highway regulations also required the bridge to be raised by almost a metre.

Traffic intensity on this route presents a number of logistical challenges for the contractor and suppliers, says Truter, who has to coordinate seven construction teams while ensuring that suppliers deliver on time and plant utilisation remains high.

AfriSam territory sales manager Bradley Thomas explains that traffic-related restrictions mean that strict timeframes apply to all deliveries, and makes it especially onerous for readymix supply.

“Our systems must ensure that our trucks arrive punctually and discharge the readymix within the strict time restrictions, despite the traffic,” he says. “There is no room for error, as any delay on our part could delay the entire construction process.”

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