I have always marvelled at the levels of sacrifice men and women make for the sake of a cause - a worthy and higher order purpose that is beyond the self. As a child of modern South Africa - a land of hope and possibility - and as an engineer, I believe that this virtuous approach should form the basis of a united effort towards socio-economic development through the development of infrastructure.
September 2011 saw first power generation at the 230 MW Changuinola 1 hydroelectric power project in northeast Panama. The scheme was developed by AES Changuinola and constructed by a joint venture led by E Pihl & Søn A.S. of Denmark.
The unique Buitengragt pedestrian bridge was sculpted from its circumstances. Out of the technical challenges of the site, the project team created a unique, but simple and aesthetically pleasing structure that blends beautifully into the busy backdrop of the Cape Town city centre.
Aurecon was appointed for the design and construction supervision of the Granger Bay Boulevard and Green Point roundabout that provides access for vehicles (public and private) and pedestrians to the Cape Town Waterfront and the new Cape Town (Green Point) Stadium. Due to the development of the stadium for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, provision had to be made for access to the stadium for large numbers of pedestrians in a manner which would remove the vehicle-pedestrian conflict.
The Warwick Triangle Precinct in Durban is one of the busiest trading and transport hubs in Africa. Major traffic conflict resulted from the movement of the estimated 460 000 people passing through every day. Funding made available by the government for transport-related improvement for the 2010 World Cup gave the eThekwini Municipality the opportunity to fast-track the construction of the viaduct that would be necessary to remove the at-grade intersections for vehicles travelling from the CBD. A condition of the funding (that the improvement be completed before the World Cup) necessitated a departure from normal procurement, design and construction processes. Faced with a highly congested work environment and many physical constraints, the project team overcame all challenges to successfully deliver the project safely, and with minimal disruption to traffic, four weeks ahead of the demanding schedule.
The location of the Warwick Triangle in Durban, with its historic market for the informal economy, caused tremendous conflict between pedestrians and vehicles. It is a transportation hub and a major gateway to the Durban central area. Every day hundreds of thousands of pedestrians and traders, and more than a 100 000 vehicles entered and left the Warwick area, resulting in serious congestion and an alarming accident rate (of which more than 70% were pedestrian related). The 2010 FIFA World Cup provided an opportunity for the city to transform the Warwick Junction into a world-class transfer facility.
The King Shaka International Airport (KSIA) N2 Interchange was required to provide unconstrained, free-flow access to and from Durban's new international airport. The advent of the 2010 FIFA World Cup and its rapidly approaching opening ceremony, coupled with a late start to the project, resulted in the monumental task of delivering a fully operational interchange in advance of the airport's immovable commissioning date.
The Shepstone & Wylie Office Development, situated in the prestigious Ridgeside Office Park in Umhlanga, KwaZulu-Natal, is the new head office for this firm of attorneys, and has been awarded a Four Green Star 'By Design' accreditation by the Green Building Council of South Africa. This is the second building in KwaZulu-Natal to be awarded this rating. The building is in keeping with the design principles of creating an innovative and environmentally sustainable design.
The Athlone Cooling Towers, also known as the "two ladies of Athlone", used to be a distinctive Cape Town landmark. In February 2010, however, the stiffening rings on Tower One failed and the entire tower was at risk of collapsing. Following inspection and evaluation of the towers, it was recommended that both towers be demolished as a matter of urgency. Kayad Knight Piésold Consulting was appointed as consulting engineers and on 22 August 2010 the towers were imploded, collapsing exactly onto their footprint, as designed. The demolition was a world first in terms of stiffening rings being imploded, and regardless of all the initial concerns and issues raised, the results were technically perfect.
In the few months following the completion of the Blackburn Pedestrian Bridge, the structure has become a landmark feature of the Durban area, showcasing the technical capabilities of civil engineering design and construction companies in South Africa. Conceptualised by SANRAL, designed by SSI Engineers and Environmental Consultants and constructed by the JT Ross / Devru Construction Joint Venture, the project achieved all the planned objectives, having been designed and constructed within an extremely tight time frame, as a safe and pleasing structure, within SANRAL's budget.
The iconic cable-stayed Blackburn Pedestrian Bridge across the N2 at Umhlanga provides long-awaited relief for many community members of the Blackburn informal settlement. This article covers some of the community-based aspects associated with the construction of the bridge, while the previous article (see page 37) deals with the technical aspects.
The 2010 FIFA World Cup inspired some of the most impressive projects in South Africa in recent years. It also offered the City of Durban the opportunity to implement a beautification project which would positively impact on residents of, and visitors to, this holiday destination.
Vilakazi Street in Soweto, Johannesburg, is home to two Nobel Prize winners - former President Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
Both the Tutu and Mandela residences have been declared official museums by the ANC government.
From a business generation and job opportunity perspective, the area is an economic hub visited profusely by local and international tourists, heads of state, and local day-trippers - all eager to understand the history, and particularly to learn more about South Africa's iconic Madiba.
This project comprised the design and rehabilitation of the MR172, which extends from Helshoogte to the R45 in the Western Cape - a scenic route meandering through the wineland towns of Johannesdal and Pniel towards Franschhoek. Valued at R50 million, construction began in January 2009. The area is both historically and environmentally sensitive, and the input of environmentalists and the Heritage Council was needed during the design and construction phases. The project included the development and upliftment of the communities by employing and training local labour and SMMEs. Main Road 172 was opened in December 2010.
Through its Civil Engineering Accolade, the South African Institution of Civil Engineering honours projects that masterfully capture the essence of civil engineering and that, at the same time, engage broader socio-economic enhancement imperatives through infrastructure development.
In 2011 the Accolade recognition goes to the mammoth, engineering-intensive Gautrain Project which provides a rapid rail link between Johannesburg, Tshwane (Pretoria) and the OR Tambo International Airport. The completion of the airport link in time for the 2010 FIFA World Cup contributed hugely to South Africa's image as a world-class destination.