Wednesday, January 26

R152m national highway project underway

The South African National Highway Agency (Sanral) has confirmed that construction of the R81 national road from Munnik to Ga-Sekgopo in Limpopo is scheduled to be completed by the end of January 2022.

Sanral says the rand 152 million construction contract started in August 2019 with an initial completion date of February 2021. But due to various disruptions and Tropical Storm Eloise that landed in South Africa in early January, the duration of the project had to be extended.

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“Once this section of R81 is completed, the highway will help facilitate better mobility and the safe movement of goods and services from Polokwane to Giyani in Limpopo province,” Sanral’s project manager for the northern region, Hannes. van der Merwe said.

“Traffic flow will improve significantly given the wider road surface and improved safety features for vehicles and pedestrians in Ga-Sekgopo village.

“The R81 serves as an alternative to the R71 towards Tzaneen and Phalaborwa with lower slopes, which [reduces] the travel times and the operating costs of the vehicle despite being a longer route than the R71 ”.

According to Sanral, the project consists of the construction of a mandatory stop for heavy vehicles at the top of the mountain pass (which will allow heavy vehicles to put down gear before starting the descent); the construction of wider formal intersections with turn lanes, walkways, and public transportation lanes; and the installation of new and additional road signs and road marking paints to enhance both vehicle and pedestrian safety.

“Two bridges are also included in the contract. Both bridges are highway bridges over rivers. The single bridge is widened to accommodate the wider road lanes and to allow for pedestrian sidewalks on both sides of the bridge. The second bridge was rebuilt to a higher level and to increase the width of the bridge to make it the same as the other bridge. The height of the bridge was increased to facilitate a greater flooding capacity of the bridge, ”the agency added in its statement.

Van der Merwe said the biggest benefit is the greatly improved pedestrian safety that the contract will implement, as well as the employment of local labor during construction activities.

He added that the main contractor, Lonerock Construction, has designated up to 20 small, medium and micro enterprises (SMEs) to work on the project as subcontractors.

“The number of community members employed since the beginning of the project is 164. The project also includes NQF level three and four accredited training opportunities, and up to 95 local community members. [have] he attended the training courses, ”said Van der Merwe.

“The training included business skills, calculating construction quantities, bidding for construction projects, and training on installing gabion rainwater baskets at a construction site.”

Progress Hlahla, North Sanral Region Manager, said: “Sanral recognizes that it can help build a capable and developmental state and drive economic development through the provision and maintenance of critical infrastructure.

“The improvement of the R81 national road from Munnik to Ga-Sekgopo shows how this is coming to life. Local businesses and communities are accessing employment and training opportunities through this project, as well as bidding opportunities for outsourcing. ”

Palesa Mofokeng is a Moneyweb intern.

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