Mtentu bridge will be built, assures Sanral’s Kannemeyer
25th February 2019
By: Irma Venter
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor
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ASJV declared a force majeure, stating that it had been unable to work on the project site since October last year, owing to continued violent protests related to job and contract demands made against Sanral.
Sanral, however, believed the situation had stabilised sufficiently, through intervention at community level, for the joint venture to have continued operations on site.
Sanral and ASJV are currently locked in a legal process related to project guarantees.
It falls under the coordination and direction of the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission, and is one of government’s 18 Strategic Integrated Projects aimed at supporting economic development and service delivery in South Africa’s poorest provinces.
Should the Mtentu bridge be completed, it will be one of the longest main-span balanced cantilever bridges in the world, reaching heights of around 220 m.
“We will have to see how the legal process unfolds before we can decide the way forward,” says Kannemeyer.
He reiterates that the bridge will be built.
ASJV clinched the contract in September 2017. The bridge was to be completed in May 2021.
Kannemeyer believes other international firms will prove willing to travel to the Wild Coast to build the structure, despite the challenges ASJV faced on site.
The twin support towers of the bridge will be between 55 and 60 storeys high – higher than Africa’s tallest building, the Carlton Centre – with construction teams then building the bridge deck from these towers. Taking into account the height of the towers, as well as the fact that the bridge crosses a gorge, dealing with high winds may prove particularly challenging.
Sanral believes the complexity of the project will result in a new, extended tender period of at least five months.
To compile a new tender, go through the tender process, adjudicate, award, obtain the necessary labour permits, mobilise and establish on site, is likely to take at least 12 months.
Legal issues may extend this period even further.