Two major projects undertaken by SMEC South Africa were recognised at the recent CESA Aon Awards, held in late August in Johannesburg. The awards are given in recognition of excellence in the field of engineering and cover several different categories.
The first was the construction of Main Road 118 between Oranjemund and Rosh Pinah for the Namibian Roads Authority. It was awarded a Commendation in the Best International Project category. Main Road 118 covers 98 km, connecting the world’s largest alluvial diamond deposit at Oranjemund, Namibia, and its eighth largest zinc mine near Rosh Pinah.
It had existed for nearly 100 years as a gravel road and in urgent need of re-construction. In 2013 SMEC, through its Namibian subsidiary VKE Namibia, was appointed to design and oversee the construction of a new road to full bitumen standards.
The challenges to this project were both physical and administrative. The former included the geography of the area, which runs through the wind-swept Namib gravel plains, rough mountainous country and shifting sand dunes. The administrative challenge was the extremely short time allowed between appointment and the contract commencement date: in fact, only three weeks were available for the preparation of full tender documents. Despite this, the project was completed to the highest quality standards and is a monument to the harmonious blend of a road with its beautiful surroundings.
The upgrade of the Mt Edgecombe Interchange on the N2, Section 26, was deemed the winner in the Roads and Bridges category. Its combination of pleasing aesthetics and innovative engineering design successfully resolved a pressing problem of ever-growing traffic demands,and facilitated growth in one of Durban’s fastest growing areas.
Major design constraints were overcome by using a four-level, free-flow interchange configuration. Thorough construction management ensured that good quality work was delivered, resulting in the completion of a highly successful project which fully met the expectations of the client, South African Roads Agency SOC Ltd, and which was commanded enthusiastic approval in the community.