Ultra-thin Reinforced Concrete Project, South Africa

The Gauteng Department of Public Transport, Roads and Works (GDPTRW), in partnership with the City of Tshwane, and Council for Science and Industrial Research, initiated the Ultra-thin Reinforced Concrete Pavement (UTRCP) project to address the growing demand for street resurfacing in a number of previously disadvantaged townships.

A 1.2 km bus route in Soshanguve was chosen to demonstrate the use of this kind of pavement. Unlike standard pavement, which is 150-220 mm thick, UTRCP is just 50 mm thick and is continuously reinforced.

The project placed great emphasis on the preservation of local resources and using local labour to build the demonstration road.  GDPTRW assigned 16 supervisors to the demonstration project to ensure that a maximum number of learner contractors benefitted from the experience gained. These supervisors undertook all the work during the first phase of the project. Following this, they attended accredited skills programmes in labour-intensive construction methods and concrete technology.

The use of UTRCP technology had a positive socio-economic impact on the community, contributing to both community development and the provision of new skills. The project has since won the National Award for Community-based projects at the SAICE Project Awards for Civil Engineering Excellence and a commendation in the Unique Design Aspects category at the 2009 Fulton Awards which recognise excellence in the use of concrete.

Staff from Aurecon’s subsidiaries Wedge and South African Value Education (SAVE), were involved in the planning, implementation and all training aspects of the project. Wedge is a specialist unit focusing on contractor development and labour-based construction and employment while SAVE is a training provider specialising in the training and assessment of emerging entrepreneurs in the construction industry.

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