Warwick Triangle Viaduct Durban

Over the last decade, the conflict between high volumes of arterial traffic through Warwick Triangle, one of the busiest transport and trading hubs in Africa, and up to 460,000 pedestrians per day, resulted in an unacceptable and avoidable casualty rate in excess of 60 deaths a year.

With the advent of the FIFA World Cup, national funding was offered to eThekwini Municipality to remedy this situation. The late availability of the funding and the non negotiable completion date presented a significant challenge to the engineering unit. At this stage no definitive technical proposals were in place. In consultation with Royal HaskoningDHV the construction of a viaduct to separate the pedestrians from the vehicles was proposed in October 2008. The new Outbound Viaduct had to be completed by the 28th May 2010 to secure approval for the funding.

eThekwini Municipality appointed Royal HaskoningDHV to project manage a design-construct tender which would meet the objectives of national and local government. The execution of this work required innovative thinking and swift action in parallel work streams. A pre-qualification tender was implemented during October 2008 while the conceptual design and documentation process was under way. Simultaneously, negotiations with bus and taxi operators and traders took place. The relocation of essential services was complicated by uncertainty of the final construction solution. Possible options ranged from conventional construction to incremental-launch to balanced cantilever – each with a different configuration of foundation layouts. A high degree of flexibility was required from the community, which was readily given. Because of the range of foundation options, the engineers had to micro plan a matrix of outcomes. In the final analysis this approach paid off and the relocation of services proceeded ahead of construction.

Immediately upon award the team initiated workshops on the FIDIC documentation with all the parties present, including the contractor’s consulting engineers. This approach characterised the strong working relationship which developed throughout the project. Every issue which could affect progress was brought into a joint decision making forum for the development of solutions, as soon as the issue became known. Where necessary, alternative resources were applied to the project and a win-win approach developed.

Faced with tight deadlines, a highly congested work environment and many physical constraints, the project team overcame a number of challenges using innovative solutions, teamwork and effective communication. The Warwick Triangle Viaduct: Outbound is a project which might not have happened for many years had it not been for the infrastructure programme surrounding the FIFA World Cup. The offer of funding with an associated deadline which would have been impossible to meet by normal procurement was met by the use of a design and build tender.

In the application of this process, each party played a role to ensure that this project was a success. The project was opened by the Deputy Mayor of Durban on the 30th April 2010 – four weeks ahead of programme. The project was completed well within budget and the community is now enjoying a greatly enhanced living environment. This achievement was recognised at the 2010 IMESA congress when the project won the Project of the Year.

“What was really excellent about this project was the will of all parties to make this viaduct a reality within a very tight time frame. Innovative thinking and good teamwork ensured the success of the project”
Roy Gooden: Deputy Head, eThekwini Roads Provision Department.