Aurecon achieves highest honours at 2014 SAICE Awards

KwaMashu interchange at night

20 October 2014 - The South African Institution of Civil Engineering (SAICE) promotes the upholding of quality and world-class standards and encourages its members to extend their skills to compete in the global arena.

The annual SAICE National Project Awards give recognition to well-engineered civil projects that portray the art and science of civil engineering to the general public and aim to publicise how the profession finds answers to challenging problems (

This year, the awards were held at the ICC Arena in Durban on 16 October. Projects in which Aurecon was involved walked away with two coveted awards, while one of our engineers was also recognised with an award.

The KwaMashu Interchange Upgrade in KwaZulu Natal was announced the joint winner in the Technical Excellence category, while Malmesbury Wastewater Treatment Works (WWTW) in the Western Cape received a commendation in the same category. Both of these projects were also recipients of awards at the CESA Aon Engineering Excellence Awards 2014

In addition to these, Dr Eduard Vorster, Aurecon: Expertise Leader, Ground Engineering, was a joint winner of the SAICE 2014 Engineer of the Year award, which was also presented at the SAICE function. This award recognises a current SAICE Member who has demonstrated outstanding dedication to their fellow members, the Institution, the profession and local community.

About KwaMashu Interchange Upgrade, KwaZulu Natal

The pioneering conversion of the standard diamond KwaMashu interchange to an innovative diverging diamond layout has provided a low cost, effective means to enhance interchange capacity and safety. It is the first application of a diverging diamond interchange (DDI) in the southern hemisphere.

A DDI is a unique interchange layout in which vehicles on an overpass or underpass crossroad at the interchange briefly cross over at a two-phase, signalised intersection to drive on the opposite (‘wrong’) side of the road, allowing free and unopposed right and left turns to and from the freeway ramps. After crossing over or under the freeway, the vehicles return to their normal left-hand lane.

The original KwaMashu interchange carried high volumes of traffic in all directions, resulting in extreme congestion throughout the day, with queue back-up extending onto the N2 northbound carriageway for several kilometres.

The pioneering introduction of the DDI concept for the KwaMashu Interchange Upgrade was successfully commissioned in June 2013. It has improved capacity on the interchange and significantly reduced traffic and pedestrian conflict points, with a consequent reduction in accidents and a complete elimination of right-angled accidents.

About Malmesbury WWTW, Western Cape

The Malmesbury Wastewater Treatment Works (WWTW) treats wastewater from Malmesbury, a rapidly growing town to the north-east of Cape Town. The original WWTW was overloaded and discharged substandard effluent into the nearby Diep River, exacerbated by periodic sludge spillages. The Department of Water Affairs withheld consent for new developments in this municipal area until the problem was resolved.

Aurecon proposed an innovative solution using a membrane bioreactor (MBR) and designed an ingenious hybrid system, incorporating the existing treatment works. The hybrid system made the use of MBR technology viable from a cost perspective and allowed the responsible operator, the Swartland Municipality, to reuse the full dry weather flow.

At the time of project approval, there was only one MBR for a municipal wastewater treatment works that had been constructed in South Africa and it had still to be fully commissioned.

About Dr Eduard Vorster

Dr Eduard Vorster has experience in the installation and interpretation of novel wireless and fibre optic sensor technologies. He has participated and led teams of researchers installing such sensors in pile foundations, onto pipelines and inside existing tunnels.

He supplemented his geotechnical and monitoring experience by gaining project management and documentation experience in Aurecon's transportation division. Dr Vorster was involved in driving several pre-qualification processes for the operation and maintenance of toll road projects, compilation of operation and maintenance documentation. In addition, he helped coordinate specialist design inputs between the client and concessionaire as part of the Independent Engineer on the Platinum Toll Highway. He also compiled operations and maintenance documentation for the Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport.

Dr Vorster completed a PhD in Geotechnical Engineering at the University of Cambridge in 2005. During his PhD, he studied the complex interaction between existing pipelines and the surrounding soil during soft ground tunnel construction and published a number of papers in this regard, including a new design method for estimating pipeline forces when subjected to ground movement

“SAICE awards are highly recognised in the industry and are a good measure of technical excellence. As such, they are also a good measure of the level of technical service we provide our clients and Aurecon’s ability to serve our clients’ best interests,” said Albert Geldenhuys, Managing Director, Aurecon South Africa

“We are humbled by the fact that our dedication and commitment to these aims are being recognised,” concludes Geldenhuys.

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