Aurecon excels at the SAICE Eastern Cape Branch Awards


Sundays River Bridge, Eastern Cape, South Africa

14 July 2015 - 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.

Held in East London on 25 June, the 2015 Eastern Cape Branch Awards covered projects from the Amathole, Algoa and Transkei regions. The branch programme is a lead-up to the SAICE – South African Federation of Civil Engineering Contractors (SAFCEC) Annual Awards, which will be taking place in October. It aims to give recognition to well-engineered civil projects that portray the art and science of civil engineering to the general public, and publicise how the profession finds answers to challenging problems.

This year saw three projects in which Aurecon was involved walk away as winners in their respective categories. The Dordrecht Waste Water Treatment Works Upgrade was awarded top honours in the ‘Technical Excellence’ category, while The evolving design and construction of rural national roads in response to community concerns triumphed in the ‘Community Based’ category. The Sundays River Bridge achieved the Best Photo award, as well as a Commendation in the ‘Technical Excellence’ category.

Dordrecht Waste Water Treatment Works Upgrade

As a result of the Emalahleni Bucket Eradication Project in Dordrecht, the amount of sewage emanating from the town had increased in recent years, with more waterborne sewerage being planned in the near future. This necessitated the upgrading of the current waste water treatment works (WWTW) from 1 Ml/d capacity to a future 2,8 Ml/d capacity.

This project consisted of initial upgrades to the WWTW, comprising a new inlet works, a new chlorination building with a chlorine contact tank, as well as a treated sewage effluent storage pond to cater for future irrigation purposes. Fencing was also erected to secure the entire facility.

The upgraded Dordrecht WWTW combines a conventional pond system with new technologies, including chlorine disinfection. As part of this project, the condition of the existing ponds was also improved with some necessary maintenance work, increasing their life expectancy. 

Dordrecht used four sewage pump stations to pump sewage to the head of the WWTW. These pump stations frequently overflowed due to pump failure and load shedding. The construction of sewage overflow ponds was not permitted as part of this project due to the local environmentally-sensitive areas. Backup generators were however permitted to prevent pump stations overflowing during load shedding. An Environmental Management Programme was enforced at all times during the project.

All labour was sourced from the local community, with interaction handled skilfully throughout the project with the assistance of a social facilitator. This led to a great amount of community support for the project from the onset.

The evolving design and construction of rural national roads in response to community concerns

The design and construction of National Route 2 Section 18, between Sitebe Komkhulu and Viedgesville, is considered to be good example of how the conventional road design and construction processes for rural national roads has had to evolve from only addressing the needs of road users in vehicles, to address more holistically the needs of the affected communities. 

The design of the temporary and the permanent works have to take account of the long-term needs of the community for a facility which addresses particularly the safety of all those who use or are affected by the use of the road. 

The construction process had to limit the short- and long-term impact of the project, while the management during the construction process had to be flexible in order to be able to respond to community concerns, which only became clear during the course of construction. 

The project is considered to have successfully achieved these objectives as well as significantly contributing to the creation of employment and business for the local community.

Sundays River Bridge

A 14.23 km two-lane pavement of Section 11 of the National Route 2, between Soutwerke and Colchester in the Western Cape, started showing signs of distress and displayed extensive cracking, which started to pose a health and safety risk for drivers.

In 2005, the South African National Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL) undertook to rehabilitate the route, which runs in a north-easterly direction to where it terminates at the intersection to Colchester.

The construction of a new bridge, together with the raising of the existing Sundays River Bridge on the route, was successfully commissioned in June 2014. Road conditions and safety have significantly improved and the road is able to accommodate the growing traffic volumes generated by the Coega IDZ.

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