3 jul 2017

Royal HaskoningDHV was victorious at the recent South African Institution of Civil Engineering (SAICE) KwaZulu Natal Regional Awards. In the category for Technical Excellence, Royal HaskoningDHV in joint venture with Henwood and Nxumalo won the award for the Provincial Main Road 577 for the KwaZulu Natal Department of Transport and the BRT Lanes: Corridor C3 for eThekwini Transport Authority. These prestigious awards were held at the Maharani Elangeni Hotel in Durban on Friday 23rd June 2017.

Main Road 577 was developed to provide critical access for local residents to jobs and economic activity in the New Germany and Pinetown areas of Durban. Part way through the contract the first dedicated Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lanes in Durban were added to the design and construction process. It is to their credit that the KwaZulu Natal Department of Transport and the eThekwini Transport Authority as well as the designers and contractors not only met the challenge head on, but came through the experience proud of their achievement.

Stakeholder engagement was key to the project with the project labour force being drawn predominantly from the local community within the 4 surrounding municipal wards. A training centre was established which provided construction related skills training to the local labour and community who were then in a position to be employed by the contractors engaged in the construction of this and other phases of the project. A total of 637 local community persons were employed and a total of 10 local sub-contractors were appointed during the duration of the project. The pedestrian bridges were designed to emphasize the identity of the MR577 corridor. The pattern on the bridge deck was chosen from an architectural competition and the bridges were built by emerging contractors, mentored through the training programme.

“Main Road 577 has truly been a journey for many over the past 25 years and has seen a number of firsts for both the industry and for the company. We are proud to be part of the collaborative team that has been instrumental in fostering both economic and social development of the KwaMashu region,” stated Duncan Mason, Director Business Unit: Transport & Planning, Africa for Royal HaskoningDHV.

The intricacy of the original design required expert engineering judgement integrating the geometric requirements of a 4-lane arterial road into complex and challenging terrain. The decision, during the course of construction, to convert this to a 6-lane option with the different geometric requirements and pavement design inherent in a BRT project placed immense pressure on the design team. The successful completion of the project is a credit to the entire team. Mandla Biyela, Director: Transport & Planning, KZN states “. Our design incorporated road safety considerations and mitigating measures, such as overhead pedestrian bridges, central barrier walls, pedestrian walkways, relocation of some houses falling within the road reserve, to mitigate conflict in movement between pedestrian and vehicle traffic volumes that might result in possible fatalities.”

The SAICE Awards, for the most outstanding civil engineering achievements of the year, honour individuals, project excellence and community-orientated initiatives. The annual awards function offers companies, individuals and departments a unique opportunity to showcase their deserving projects and work in the Civil Engineering industry. Professor Phil Everitt, convener of the SAICE Regional Awards judging panel noted that the number of entries were the largest in 22 years and the Royal HaskoningDHV, Henwood and Nxumalo Joint venture took first place - what an achievement!