Work begins on South Africa’s ‘mega-bridge’ project
The South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) says it is making ‘steady progress’ in developing the multi-billion-rand N2 Wild Coast Road Project.
The agency said that the Covid-19 pandemic has caused some delays to the project but activities have now resumed following the easing of lockdown restrictions according to the government’s risk-adjusted strategy.
The project will see the construction of two mega-bridge structures on the Msikaba and Mtentu Rivers, seven additional major river bridges and several interchange bridges, as well as new intersection, interchanges, pedestrian walkways and agricultural under and overpasses.
The N2 Wild Coast Road, which stretches 410 km from the Gonubie Interchange in East London to the Mtamvuna river near Port Edward, will shorten the current distance by 85 kilometres in comparison to the current route.
This will mean a travel time saving of between one-and-a-half to three-hours for road-users once it is completed saving the economy R1.5 billion annually, Sanral said.
Project manager for the N2 Wild Coast Road Project, Craig McLachlan, said the roads agency’s investigating team has done its utmost to ensure that it works together with local community representatives whilst conducting their surveys.
“As far as possible, our investigation team tries not to disturb residents when we go onto sites,” he said.
“Sanral would like to point out that the N2 Wild Coast Road Project holds significant socio-economic benefits for local communities, including an estimated 8,000 direct jobs envisaged for construction work, whilst operational work is anticipated to create 900 direct jobs in addition to the 16,000-20,000 indirect jobs that will flow from the project.”
The Msikaba bridge is set to become one of the longest span crossings ever constructed on the African Continent, with a tower-to-tower distance of 580 meters. The new cable-stayed bridge will also become the one of the highest bridges in Africa with a deck 194 meters high.
Construction was set to begin in February 2019 but was marred by community protests and delays.