Involving the community and preserving a unique cultural heritage were key challenges in upgrading the main tourist route into the Franschhoek Valley. The reconstruction of Main Road 191, between Groot Drakenstein and Wemmershoek in the Western Cape, last month received the 1997 Bob Laburn Award for a contribution to environmental awareness in civil engineering. The project sought both to preserve the historic cultural landscape of the Cape wine farms created by the French Huguenots and to involve the local community in its planning and implementation.
Successful completion of the Warmbaths-Pietersburg toll road was the outcome of an innovative contract structure and optimised design, and simultaneously provided capacity-building opportunities for emerging contractors, accredited training and employment for local residents. The N1 toll road between Warm baths and Pietersburg in the Northern Province constitutes a major link between Gauteng and our neighbours to the north. Prior to its construction, the section of road between Middelfontein and Pietersburg was notorious for congestion and accidents owing to its restricted capacity and high traffic volumes. That the demand for a new facility was justified could not be denied - the question was how to provide it in a climate of extreme fiscal restraint.
This article gives an overview of the wide variety of engineering research being carried out at the University of the Witwatersrand. Two years ago an article was published on research activities in the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of the Witwatersrand. This is an update on that article and thus focuses on research carried out over the past two years.
The preoccupation with compact cities is misdirected and will not work. Urban policy is being contradicted by economic reality, writes Richard Tomlinson. Government intends to re-engineer South Africa's cities and towns: spatially in the delivery of housing and municipal and social services, economically and, ultimately, socially. Government aims to bring us together and to break the physical and social distance inherited from apartheid where the lack of social connections left us with different world views and without shared meanings.
This paper proposed a novel approach to dealing with solid waste management problems in developing areas. The collapse of rural economies and the perception of a better future in cities are contributing to the rapid urbanisation of mainly poor people in most cities in developing countries. The result has been informal settlements on the fringes of the cities, resulting in increased waste generation and also littering. The current municipal management methods are not coping with littering or the illegal dumping accumulating on street corners and in open areas. The unplanned nature of settlements also makes it difficult for collection vehicles to move between shacks.
This paper discussed the methods typically used to monitor the pore pressure regime in tailings dams, concluding with a recommended approach to monitoring and the subsequent stability analysis. Monitoring of the seepage regime in a tailings dam during its operational life forms an essential part of the continuing surveillance as the dam gains height. In the tailings dam industry it is common practice to use standpipe piezometers to monitor the pore water regime. A number of single standpipe piezometers along a section across the dam wall are generally used. The water level in the standpipe is assumed to represent the phreatic surface and it is then assumed that pore pressures increase hydrostatically with depth. This seepage regime is then used in the stability analysis of the tailings dam walls.
This paper looked at biologically based options for managing contaminated sites. Bioremediation is a treatment technology whereby micro-organisms degrade hazardous organic chemicals into innocuous compounds such as carbon dioxide and water. This technology has gained increasing acceptance in Europe and the United States of America, and is increasingly being implemented in South Africa.