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Gordon’s Bay to Rooi Els Road

JG Afrika

SAICE Award: 1998-1999 Finalist Technical Excellence
SAACE Award: 1998 Excellence in Consulting Engineering

Client: Provincial Administration Western Cape: Chief Directorate TransportMain Contractor: Grinaker Civil Engineering Cape
Sub-contractor: Zebra Bituminous Surfacing

This R40 million Western Cape project, undertaken in 1998 for PAWC: Chief Directorate Transport, was a finalist in the SAICE Technical Excellence Awards and won the SAACE Award for Excellence in Consulting Engineering. Itinvolved the upgrading of 5 km of urban road within the Gordon’s Bay municipal area and 20 km of scenic rural road between Gordon’s Bay and Rooi Els.

Besides being a technically challenging project, its uniqueness derived from the combination of large-scale labour-intensive construction methods and stringent environmental controls in a botanically extremely sensitive area close to the (then proposed) Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve which, due to its ecological significance, went on to become the first Biosphere Reserve in southern Africa. The Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve boasts 1 300 different plant species per 10 000 square km, and during construction, a section of the road between Blousteen and Rooi Els had to pass right through part of the core area of the reserve.

The project involved reconstructing and widening the existing road by about 0,7 m on each side. Drainage was upgraded and the 60-year old Steenbras Bridge was extensively repaired. In addition to gabion construction, about 4 km of hand-built stone retaining wall was built on the mountain side.

As the largest task-based labour-intensive civil engineering project in the Western Cape at the time, the contract provided for the training of workers from local communities in skills they could use on the road project and to improve their future employment prospects.