To all SAICE members who support the cause of civil engineering through volunteerism, and who faithfully pay their subscriptions - thank you for your commitment to the Institution. The profession is moving forward because of your contribution.
Civilution encapsulates the tenets of a cause or a mass movement, and it defines an era during which engineers will resolutely reinstate technical, intellectual and strategic leadership. Civilution, therefore, is a time frame - an era. It is the era of engineers in revolution
Aveng Grinaker-LTA was awarded the contract for the 20 km long rail line for the Kalagadi Manganese Mine near Hotazel in the Northern Cape. The major structure along this route is the bridge over the Ga Mogara River, where Aveng Grinaker-LTA Ground Engineering is responsible for the foundations.
With government-owned assets and the sustainability of service delivery a primary objective, the "State of Good Repair" of the Gautrain rapid rail system will in future play a fundamental role in determining its quality and ability to deliver a world-class transportation service. If not managed responsibly, the system could experience major operational and financial challenges that will result in public discontent and possible ridership decline. This article gives a broad overview of a study that was carried out to determine the Gautrain's State of Good Repair.
There are many different tamping machine models available, each designed for a specific purpose. Applying the wrong machine could mean either under-utilising the machine at an increased cost per sleeper, or the machine being incapable of completing the tamping cycle in the allotted time at an even greater cost in terms of track deterioration. In addition, when choosing a tamping machine for a railway or track section, various operational, network and infrastructure considerations, such as the length of the line, the traffic density, the number of turnouts on the line, etc, must be considered.
With the constantly increasing demand for heavy freight transportation, railways have become an extremely important element in the economic wellbeing of any country, and particularly in a developing country like South Africa. It is thus the duty of track engineers to maintain a continued understanding of the rail track infrastructure. Track designs should be as cost-effective as possible and should be sensitive to the costs associated with the planning, development and maintenance of the track structure. Extensive and continuous research is therefore required to determine the influencing parameters and to maximise the track performance and the lifetime of the track structure.
Deformation of the track structure is a good measure of the structural capability of a track structure or of the expected track performance. This deformation is vastly dependent on the support of the track structure. The ballast support and the foundation of the track structure are therefore key components. Poor support will lead to large deformations, which in turn will accelerate track deterioration. This will increase the maintenance need and therefore the total cost of operating the asset within an acceptable functional condition.
With South Africa's high logistics costs increasingly in the spotlight - and hampering our ability to compete in the global marketplace - the time is ideal for an 'intermodal renaissance' that will enable South African companies to leverage the strengths of both road and rail transport.
The Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Pretoria recently constructed a 30 m long railway test section on the University's Experimental Farm (better known as the "Proefplaas") in Pretoria. The track will further enhance the university's research capabilities in the railway environment. The project was made possible with the help of civil engineering students and sponsorship from industry. It was constructed as part of the Workshop Practice module presented to the first year students during the December/January 2012/2013 break. All the first year, and a few third and final year, civil engineering students assisted with the track construction which took approximately one month to complete.
Along the mountainous border of Lesotho, between Aliwal North and Barkly East, ran what was arguably the most scenic branch railway line in South Africa. Railway enthusiasts also know the line for the famous set of eight reverses (or switchbacks) that negotiate the difficult terrain of the Witteberge in the southern foothills of the Drakensberg. Although relatively short in length, its overall construction period was unduly long (28 years), spanning from March 1903 to December 1930, and included the puzzling abandonment of an essentially completed and particularly striking section. What circumstances interfered? Because of conflicting explanations, and other questions, a group of five civil engineers visited the disused line during October 2012, seeking answers to their questions. Comprising what came to be known as the 2012 Barkly East Railway Reverses Tour (BERRT), the participants offer these findings, hoping other engineers will visit this remarkable branch line in a magnificent part of South Africa.
The railway industry is a multi-disciplinary environment, incorporating a wide range of engineering disciplines, as well as operational and technical skills, and expertise. Within this environment a number of technical societies serve and constantly strive to positively influence the railway industry and its people. This article contains a brief outline of the following technical societies that exist within the railway industry.
South Africa has a magnificent 3 000 km coastline, with the Western Cape Province hosting the longest section of approximately 1 000 km. Our coastline supports a myriad of economic activities, such as fisheries, tourism-related developments, recreational facilities and residential development. However, the combination of rapid development and lenient coastal management regulations has resulted in the following "issues of concern" (DEAT State of the Environment Report 2006).
This article is the third in a suite of articles on various aspects of assurance. The previous two articles appeared in the January-February 2013 and March 2013 editions of Civil Engineering on pages 30 and 53 respectively.
The Southern African Institute of Steel Construction (SAISC) recently held its SteelFuture Conference where engineers from across the globe convened to discuss the future of the steel industry. The papers presented and the ensuing debate were intense and naturally of an exceptionally high standard.
With the resource boom happening across Africa, the need for efficient infrastructure networks has become increasingly important. In particular, rail systems capable of operating optimally with minimal downtime or need for maintenance would provide enormous value to the mining sector.
The Subtech Group has been involved in most of the port construction projects that have taken place in South Africa in the last ten years. The company offers a full range of marine construction services, including marine piling and piling support, scour protection, confined dredging and capital dredging support, underwater demolition, underwater concreting, preparation of caisson beds and caisson placement, installation of subsea cables and pipelines, bathymetric survey and geotechnical services. This range of services provides clients with multiple solutions to harbour development projects, as illustrated in the examples below.
ECSA (Engineering Council of South Africa) has prepared five case studies arising from the contravention of ECSA's Rules of Conduct for Registered Persons. These case studies are offered to the engineering fraternity as advisory notes to minimise the risk of recurrence. Civil Engineering will be publishing these case studies over five editions - herewith the third of these case studies. The first and second case studies in the series appeared in the March and April 2013 editions of Civil Engineering (pages 75 and 76 respectively).