A unique commitment to minimising impact on the environment underpinned all work completed during the recent upgrade of the N2 between Tsitsikamma and Witelsbos. The 14 km section of this strategic and scenic National Road through South Africa’s Garden Route was the final section to be upgraded to Toll Road standards. The scope of work included the widening of the road to accommodate wider lanes and shoulders, as well as flattening the horizontal planes to increase visibility.
While the desire to ensure optimal travelling conditions for road users was a priority, this was outweighed by the need to preserve the environment. Representative of the entire project was one particular 560 year old Yellowwood tree which caused major environmental protests. A change to the road alignment and the construction of a bridge to avoid root damage preserved the tree, with the additional benefit of providing a safe crossing point for local wildlife.
More than 130 trees were replanted or temporarily housed in local nurseries for rehabilitation following construction, while more than one hundred trees of commercial value were harvested and auctioned for the benefit of the Tsitsikamma National Park. The environmental impact was further reduced by using vertically reinforced earth walls at the high fills, with much of the road built in half-widths to preserve the forest and significantly reduce the footprint of the road.
Aurecon delivered preliminary design and cost estimation, detail design and constriction drawings, tender documentation and adjudication and environmental monitoring.
In partnership with the South African National Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL) the vision to preserve the natural beauty of the road was achieved without compromising the delivery of the project, demonstrating that progress need not occur at the expense of the environment and that with planning and innovation challenges can be resolved and sustainable construction targets can be successfully achieved.