The e-tolling saga has been in the spotlight in recent months. The issue has intensified now with the resignation of SANRAL's CEO, Nazir Alli, who is also a longstanding member and Fellow of our Institution. It is common knowledge that SANRAL is one of the better-run organisations of its kind. Nazir is noted for being a highly competent, motivated and technically sound civil engineering business manager, operating in the government environment, and who stands in the gap that translates politics into engineering and engineering into politics. That breed is rare, and SAICE is sad to see Nazir leave.
Pulp and paper producer Sappi Southern Africa (Pty) Ltd awarded AVENG Grinaker-LTA Ground Engineering a R21 million order for piling works at the Ngodwana Paper Mill, Mpumalanga, in October 2011. The piling works form part of Sappi's GoCell project, which entails the expansion of the current mill for the production of chemical cellulose.
The Transnet Infrastructure Plan (TIP) 2011 forecast a growth in the national total freight (all forms of transport) from the current 750 mtpa (million tons per annum) to around 1 800 mtpa in 2040. In the Rail Development Plan section of the TIP, Transnet is preparing for this by putting in place strategies to move those commodities that are currently transported by road, but that are more suitable for rail, back onto rail. This will result in an increase in traffic beyond the current rail infrastructure traffic limit. The Transnet capital programme therefore relies on optimising the lines. In this regard efficient track maintenance will undoubtedly make a huge contribution.
The Tubular Modular Track system is a relatively new innovation in railway technology. This ballastless track structure provides a more stable and reliable track structure, and requires less track maintenance. These improvements in railway track structures are important, as there is a demand for higher capacity, faster, safer and more economical public transport systems. This research project focused on the strains and stresses experienced by the gauge bar, in three different sections along a track structure, namely a transitional curve, a circular curve and a tangent section of track.
Of the many requirements modern railways must meet, those of safety, speed, efficiency and cost-effectiveness are paramount. These requirements have been the driving force for railway engineers to develop new and innovative track structures. Conventional track structures consisting of a superstructure resting on a ballast bed have over time given way to ballastless track structures. These innovative structures, though often costly to construct, remain feasible due to the decreased maintenance requirements. Lower maintenance requirements lead to fewer interruptions to traffic, and considerable cost savings over the design life of the structure.
The Gautrain system has 24 train sets, each consisting of four cars. This is equivalent to 96 rail cars designed to run at an operational speed of 160 km per hour. Of the 96 rail cars, ten are specifically customised for use on the airport link, and contain additional features such as extra luggage space and wider seats. The other 86 rail cars are designed for commuter service.
The new 32 km Postmasburg link line enables the expansion of iron ore supply from the Northern Cape areas, and forms part of Transnet's commitment to the expansion of rail and port capacity along the 861 km Sishen-Saldanha iron ore export corridor. The Postmasburg link line, which serves the new Sishen South mine, is the first new line of this length to be completed by Transnet in 32 years.
Transnet's R10 billion Port of Ngqura is South Africa's first new port built in over 25 years. The historic port north of Port Elizabeth has a strategic geographic position protecting it from the prevailing southwesterly winds. It has an advantage over other South African ports in that it is a deep-water port, with a depth of between 16 and 18 metres, allowing it to accommodate the new-generation container vessels.
The construction of Berth 208, a new additional bulk liquid berth, in the Port of Richards Bay, has been completed. This berth shares a border with the eChwebeni Natural Heritage Site (NHS), which is part of an original mangrove site that existed prior to the development of the port. The environmental impact assessment (EIA) for Berth 208 identified potential impacts in respect of this site, with specific concern for the expected increased shoreline erosion due to greater ship movement. The record of decision (RoD) recommended that a solution be found to address the ongoing erosion between the existing Berth 209 (and the newly commissioned adjacent Berth 208) and Spinach Point.
The Gorgon Project, currently in its third year of construction, is one of the world's largest natural gas projects and the largest single-resource natural gas project in Australia's history. The project will develop the Gorgon and Jansz gas fields, located within the greater Gorgon area, about 130 kilometres off the northwest coast of Western Australia. The gas will be processed in a 15 million tonne per annum liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant currently being constructed on Barrow Island. Barrow Island, a Class A nature reserve, is located 80 kilometres off the coast of Western Australia, and about 1 200 kilometres north of Perth. The LNG will be offloaded onto LNG tankers, for transport to international markets, via a four kilometre long loading jetty. The domestic gas will be piped to the Western Australian mainland.
The following comments are a distillation of forty years of experience with dry docks and the technology of dry docks. As such they are pragmatic and much of the basis has been developed as part of feasibility studies or the development of actual projects. Some aspects have been included in refereed papers and are hence persuasive, but a word of caution: these comments have not yet been formally examined in a scientific way. The most significant aspect I foresee comes from the relatively simplistic presentation given here. In practice there may well be a great deal of variation from individual case to individual case.
A few years ago the committee of the SAICE Railway and Harbour Engineering Division decided to develop its own website with the aim of promoting railway and harbour engineering to engineers in industry and to the general public. At the same time, the website would provide an updated list of the Division's members, and information regarding the Division's annual activities, and would also reduce the administrative work related to annual events by, for example, automating delegates' registration.
This article is a pilot to explore the issues and to seek as much comment, challenge and other input as possible to assist in developing a formal approach to the subject. It dates back to the 32nd PIANC Congress in Liverpool in May 2010 (Permanent International Association of Navigation Congresses). The closing plenary session took the form of a debate on the PIANC environmental initiatives in harbours and in navigation. From the floor I pointed out that all the main fields of engineering are firmly rooted in proper scientific theories. An appropriate scientific basis would be Charles Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection.
Stefanutti Stocks Marine (a division of the Stefanutti Stocks Structures Business Unit), specialises in all types of marine civil engineering structures, often including both design and construction services.