Engineering consultant Zutari has celebrated its involvement as part of the professional team on the R512-PWV3 Pampoennek Road in Brits in the North West Province. Built at a cost of R377 million on behalf of the South African National Roads Agency SOC Limited (SANRAL), the road stretches from the R512 to the west of the dam, and connects directly to the N4 to Rustenburg through Pampoennek.
The project was officially opened by Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula, in partnership with SANRAL and Madibeng Local Municipality, on Thursday 3 September 2020. Zutari, responsible for the Design and Construction Supervision (Project Management and Quality Control), was represented at the official opening by Engineer’s Representative Hendrik Louw, Client Director for Transport Phil Hendrik and CFO Joe Ndala. Louw has been working on SANRAL and SANRAL-related projects for the past 12 years.
A challenging project brief
Motorists will now enjoy a free flow of traffic, as well as there now being a better link between the North West Province from the west of Pretoria and Johannesburg. The completion of this 30-month project demonstrates the ongoing commitment by SANRAL in investing in road infrastructure as part of its Horizon 2030 proactive response to improve the national road transport system.
The project brief was construction of National Route 4 Section 12 (PWV3) from km 69.985 at the interchange with Road 980 to the interchange between the project road and Road P123-1 and to km 76.170. The road traverses a mountainous terrain in a north-westerly to a south-easterly direction. This resulted in a vertical alignment with a sub-section in deep cut and other sub-sections on high fills.
The new construction was 6 km of undivided dual carriageway, with interchanges at P123-1 and 980, and resurfacing of Ramp A, De Rust. There were three soil-nailed and Titan anchor retaining walls at the Magaliesberg Neck, with a portion of contiguous piled retaining wall. The culverts were installed at the De Rust interchange, along with various gabion structures and erosion protection.
Zutari’s design scope was the vertical and horizontal alignment of the road and the design of various structures. This included a bridge on the southern end, 75.8 m long and 26.6 m wide, and the design and optimisation of the geotechnical aspects in the cutting, such as three soil-nailed and Titan anchored retaining walls finished in a Rockscape finish to mimic the natural environment.
The mountainous terrain and the limited width in the cutting through Pampoennek made the optimal vertical alignment through the cutting quite a challenge, notes Louw. “In an endeavour to supply a superior product while keeping the client’s interests and budget at heart, we optimised the vertical alignment to ensure a balance between the cut and fill materials, while taking the natural topography and on-site soil conditions into account,” he elaborates.
Environmental complexity and care
A full-time Designated Environmental Officer and Environmental Control Officer oversaw the rescue and reinstatement of indigenous vegetation. The installation of the corrugated iron game underpass connects the nature reserves on either side of the freeway. Any blasting and associated activities that could potentially have disturbed the breeding processes at the Skeerpoort endangered Krantz vulture breeding colony had to be concluded during the small window between the last nestlings leaving the nests and the next year’s copulation rituals.
Job creation and training
Local labour and sub-contractors received both on-site and accredited training. The training provided was for NQF levels 3 and 4. Additional Contractor development training was also provided to 15 identified local SMME contractors. A total of 209 full-time local labourers were employed on-site. A certain percentage of the expenditure for local SMME contractors was allocated to women-owned enterprises.
Commenting on the successful outcome of this project, Louw concludes: “This is just a confirmation that Zutari is the leading consultant on our continent. We pride ourselves in delivering products of superior quality and value our relationships with our clients. This was an awesome project delivered by an awesome team.” The team included Grinaker-LTA and Lubocon Civils on the contracting side.