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Wild Coast construction moving ahead with mega-bridge on-track

Home Infrastructure Construction & Civils Wild Coast construction moving ahead with mega-bridge on-track

TRANSPORT Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga conducted an oversight visit of the Msikaba Bridge project on the new N2 Wild Coast Toll Road (N2WCTR) in the Eastern Cape last week. She was accompanied by Deputy Transport Minister Lisa Mangcu, together with members of the South African National Roads Agency SOC Limited’s (SANRAL) Board and executives.

The Msikaba Bridge forms the backbone of SANRAL’s N2 Wild Coast Road Project. Since construction started on the project, several new river and interchange bridges, as well as numerous access roads have been constructed and upgraded, enabling easier movement and access for vehicles and the local community.

Speaking at the Msikaba Bridge construction site, Chikunga said it was clear to her that the project was progressing well and that the new N2 Wild Coast Road had significant employment and benefits for SMMEs over the short-term and would help bring tourism and socio-economic development to the area over the long-term.

“I have seen for myself the progress in the construction which shows that we have the skills and expertise to make this new N2 Wild Coast Road come to life and also displays how SANRAL, together with national, provincial and local government, as well as the private sector and communities, is working together to build the N2 Wild Coast Road.

“This is a project which we should be very proud of,” said Chikunga.

The socio-economic impact of the R20 billion Wild Coast Road project is a significant injection for the local communities. The minimum 30% expenditure earmarked for targeted enterprise subcontractors and suppliers means that, by the end of the project in 2028/29, more than R6 billion will have flowed to SMMEs, the majority of which will be from the OR Tambo and Alfred Nzo Districts. In addition, more than R1 billion will be spent on wages and skills training for locals.

SANRAL’s Southern Region manager, Mbulelo Peterson, pointed out key milestones that have been achieved to date on the N2 Wild Coast Road Project.

“To date, the Msikaba Bridge project, which is valued at R1.72 billion, has created employment opportunities for over 400 local community members and created an equivalent of over 2 700 full-time jobs. This has seen the wage bill on the project standing at R80,8 million by the end of March this year. A further 114 SMMEs have also benefitted from project participation opportunities to the tune of R483 million,” said Peterson.

The 580m span, 195m high, cable-stay bridge is anticipated to be completed at the end of February 2025, and it will go down in history as the longest cable-stay bridge in Africa.

Deputy Minister Mangcu emphasised road safety on the project.

“As we have seen this morning, the mist is a prominent feature in this part of the province, particularly on the gorge next to the bridge. SANRAL will put the necessary safety measures in place to ensure that the mist around the bridge is taken into account,” he said.

SANRAL Board Chairperson Themba Mhambi reiterated SANRAL’s commitment to transformation and bringing true and meaningful opportunities for the local communities that live around the project.

SANRAL CEO Reginald Demana said the N2 Wild Coast Road is one of the biggest projects which SANRAL is constructing in South Africa.

“It is significant not only for Pondoland and the Eastern Cape province but will act as an economic artery to the rest of the country,” he said.

Earlier this month, during the South African Investment Conference held at the Sandton Convention Centre, President Cyril Ramaphosa highlighted the significance of this project as a conduit for revitalised economic activity in the province and commended the work that is being undertaken there. The president himself conducted a site inspection at the Msikaba Bridge construction site in September 2021.

Mtentu Bridge

The Mtentu Bridge project was awarded to China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) and MECSA Construction joint venture (CCCC MECSA JV) for R4.05 billion on November 1, 2022. The four-month site mobilisation period commenced on April 5, 2023, and over the next 54 months, this project will make a significant economic injection into the region. The estimated construction start date is August 5, 2023.

In addition to the major projects, SANRAL also awarded Package 5 to WBHO H&I JV for R2.5 billion. The contractors were introduced to the key stakeholders after the contract commencement meeting on February 22, 2023. SANRAL hosted community introduction meetings in March and this was followed by a presentation of the Contract Participation Goals (CPG) to stakeholders earlier in April. The scope of work for package 5 is the construction of about 17km of the future N2 road in a single-lane configuration, with extensive passing lanes due to the rolling topography. The scope also includes two interchanges, one 72 metre span river bridge and multiple under- and over-passes for vehicles, pedestrians and cattle.

The scope further includes the relocation of several affected families and the construction or upgrading of various local access roads. A minimum of R790 million (35%) will be spent on local SMME suppliers, service providers and subcontractors. A minimum of R176 million (8% of the total contract value) will also be spe

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