Construction work has started on a 13,7 kilometre portion of the N4 toll road (section 7) from Schagen to the Nelspruit Ring Road split. This section of road will be widened to a four lane divided dual carriageway.
TRAC has a policy to deliver environmentally responsible or so-called “green” projects. It has given the Departments of Water Affairs and Environmental Affairs its full cooperation to ensure no environmental damage is done as a result of construction activities to any wetlands or vegetation. The commencement of the project was therefore delayed for almost 6 months to ensure utmost compliance to environmental regulations. As in the case of the Nelspruit Ring Road, TRAC will after completion of the project, embark on a revegetation process. Indigenous trees and shrubs will be re-established in the road reserve.
Contracting firm, WBHO Construction, will construct the R196 million road upgrade. The new dual carriageway was designed by the consulting firm, SNA Civil and Structural Engineers. The design includes various road safety improvements including better sight distances. It will also have fewer access roads onto the N4 for adjoining property owners and service roads. The two existing bridges over the Visspruit and Cairnspruit will also be widened, and new bridges will be constructed.
The new carriageway is expected to be completed by the end of March 2013.
With this contract, Trans African Concessions (TRAC) departs from traditional construction model where a client appointed supervisory engineer oversees the project and to, inter alia, perform quality and other control functions during the contract period. With the award of this contract, the construction company accepts full responsibility for their construction work. The contractor will adhere to all the stringent construction tests and various quality control measures including the ISO standards. WBHO will, however, be expected to monitor its own processes and quality of work. It does therefore deliver a one-stop service to TRAC.
As part of the contract, WBHO has provided TRAC with a five year performance guarantee to ensure that their work live up to the best engineering standards and practices. After this period, a five year latent defects and liability guarantee will still be applicable.
Graham Esterhuysen, TRAC’s engineering manager, believes this new model will enhance the cost- effectiveness of the project while at the same time minimising risks and ensuring the highest quality standards. TRAC applied the same contract principles in 1998 when the SBV Joint Venture was guided by ISO standards and internal contract supervision.
During the initial contract phase, the work will have no impact on traffic flow. Two-way traffic shall be maintained as long as possible to minimise the impact on road users. Speed restrictions will be applied while the road is under construction for the safety of road workers and motorists.