18 Aug 2017

With 70% of the R370-million Cornubia Interchange project complete, construction design and engineering services provider Royal HaskoningDHV and the eThekwini roads provision department say the project is likely to be completed in January next year.

Located in the north of Durban, in KwaZulu-Natal, the Cornubia Interchange will link Umhlanga Ridge and Cornubia with a mixed-use, eight-lane bridge that is 125 m long, with three spans of 40 m to 45 m long. Six lanes are for public use and two are for the GO Durban Integrated Rapid Public Transport Network (IRPTN).

The GO Durban IRPTN is a service delivery project that will run through the Cornubia Interchange. It entails bus rapid transit to ensure that the majority of the city’s people are no more than 500 m from public transport.

The construction on the Cornubia Interchange started in August 2015 and Royal HaskoningDHV construction project manager Drew Wilson says the biggest challenge has been piling and the foundation of the structure.

“We have had to install 187 concrete reinforced piles with an average depth of 20 m to 25 m a pile. We have installed about 4 km of piles underground, which is a substantial task.”

Royal HaskoningDHV business transport and planning unit for Africa director Duncan Mason says the bridge structure connects the roads on either side of Umhlanga Ridge. The bridge forms part of Cornubia boulevard, which connects Umhlanga Ridge with the Cornubia Town Centre development.

The company is currently monitoring the erection of temporary structural staging works over the operational N2 highway. This will allow for further construction of the deck structure of the bridge.

Dimensional Design

Royal HaskoningDHV designed the Cornubia Interchange project using the latest advances in digital engineering by employing the use of three-dimension modelling to create a virtual model of the structure. This is complemented by an interactive video, or virtual tour, of what the ultimate interchange experience will be like for the surrounding areas.

“At Royal HaskoningDHV, we are investing in next-generation digital technology and tools to enhance the decision-making process for our clients and partners. By harnessing the latest technology, we can enable a swifter decision-making process for our clients and, at the same time, make the process more transparent and accessible to the community at large, facilitating greater stakeholder engagement.”

Mason adds that the infrastructure industry is witnessing the next great leap with advances in digital technologies. From new design platforms to digital collaboration, Royal HaskoningDHV is exploring new and innovative technologies to contribute to the drive of automated design in South Africa and beyond.

He explains that these advances, such as automations, can, for example, evaluate the level of water flow on roads, therefore identifying the risks involved in water planning. Automated design can also assist in using site distances and the position of the sun to determine when there will be safety risks, owing to blind spots and glare at certain times of day.

“Three-dimensional design helps with planning construction processes because clients can look at construction sequencing, clash detection for services, construction methodologies and visualisation,” highlights Mason.

Development Opportunities

The Cornubia Interchange project has created more than 350 employment opportunities, including for three engineering students – one from Durban University of Technology and two from the University of Natal’s Durban campus.

“They are employed . . . full time, learning and reporting on site. We are responsible for their experiential training throughout the project,” notes Wilson.

He adds that, with this project, Royal HaskoningDHV has managed to foster inclusive engagements with local affected parties.

“We hold regular public liaison meetings and there are also training and entrepreneurial development initiatives budgeted into our contract to train and empower local small, medium-sized and microenterprises (SMMEs).”

Royal HaskoningDHV has partnered with land management and property development company Tongaat Hulett’s Sustainable Social Innovation Programme to collaborate with clients and local SMME businesses to upskill entrepreneurs and help with their business progress.

“From a construction management perspective, we put in a lot of effort to do proper consultation with communities and uplift SMMEs, linking both clients, students and ourselves as professionals in terms of developing skills,” Wilson concludes.

Originally published on Engineering News

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Drew Wilson

Civil Engineer

Pietermaritzburg, SA

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