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Inspiring Africa with innovative infrastructure delivery for Swaziland

Inspiring Africa with innovative infrastructure delivery for Swaziland

Siphofaneni Bridge

30 June 2017 - At the recent official inauguration of the Siphofaneni Bridge, King Mswati III spoke of his vision for Swaziland to be an example to Africa with its state-of-the-art technology, First World standards and infrastructure innovations.

“This bridge and road project is going to be the standard for future infrastructure projects in Swaziland. Innovative and world-class solutions are needed and what I’m seeing here today is exactly that,” said King Mswati III.

The Siphofaneni Bridge is a massive 375 metre-long incrementally launched bridge over the Usutu River, which forms part of the 23 km St Phillips Road upgrade project. The bridge will not only contribute to reduce transportation cost for sugar farmers in the industry, but will reshape and transforming the local community and assist them to develop future. Global engineering and infrastructure advisory company Aurecon was tasked with preliminary and detailed design, assistance with tender evaluation and construction supervision for the project.

The project formed part of a larger agreement, between Swaziland and the European Union, to develop the transportation infrastructure for the sugar industry, which included the development of approximately 11,105 ha of smallholder sugar chain farms. The purpose of the infrastructure development was to reduce the transportation cost for the sugar industry. According to international trade agreements, the European Union needs to reduce the current quotas that guarantee the price and quantities of sugar to be exported each year from Swaziland to the European Union. To help them achieve this goal, they have committed to improving the infrastructure for the sugar industry in Swaziland.

The dignitaries among the guests at the opening included Pastor Lindiwe Dlamini, Swaziland Minister of Public Works and Transport and Nicola Bellomo, European Union Ambassador to Swaziland. Representing Aurecon at the ceremony was Professional Civil Engineer, Louis Steyn.

“Aurecon was privileged to be involved in a project that will help smallholder farmers with sugar production, which is a crucial means to further develop the rural community in Swaziland. Innovative design thinking brought this bridge to life and the impact that it will have on future generations in Swaziland is something that everyone can be proud of. The bridge was designed according to the incremental launch method. The team also developed innovative features for an incrementally launched bridge, which make use of reinforced concrete, instead of the post tensioned concentric cables during the construction stage. This resulted in cost savings and a simpler construction method.  The bridge was designed by our Tshwane bridge team and the design was reviewed by Aurecon Hong Kong,” says Steyn.

The new bridge which was designed and constructed according to world best practices will also have a large impact on the community members in the region. 

“Everyone from school children who need to walk home from school to community members who have to visit the local clinic and farmers who have to transport their sugar cane to the local sugar mill will be able to safely crosses the river during flooding of the river. It is humbling to be part of a project that is not only technically excellent but will help the people of Swaziland for years to come,” concludes Steyn.

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