The South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) has awarded a R1.65 bllion tender for a new mega-bridge project on the Wild Coast.
The roads agency confirmed that the winning bid was a joint venture between South Africa’s Concor and Mota-Engil – a major international construction firm.
The Msikaba Bridge is scheduled to become the second longest span crossing ever constructed on the African Continent, with a tower-to-tower distance of 580 meters. Only the Maputo-Catembe Bridge in Mozambique will be longer with a suspension span of 680 meters.
The new cable-stayed bridge will also become the third highest bridge in Africa with a deck 194 meters high. This drop is exceeded only by the 216 meter high Bloukrans Bridge and the 223 meter high Mtentu Bridge, also located on the new N2 tollway bypass road.
Sanral said that construction is due to start in February 2019 and will last for 33 months, with initial planning proceedings set to begin in October 2018.
Designed by Dissing + Weitling, the concrete structure will have a deck 22.8 meters wide with walkways on both edges and is expected to use some 2,700 tons of structural steel and 2,500 tons of cables.
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The Msikaba bridge is the second mega-bridge announced as part of the improvement to the N2 Wild Coast Toll Road, following a tender for the R1.634 billion Mtentu bridge being awarded in 2017.
Construction on the Mtentu bridge began in November 2017 and is expected to be completed in 2020/21, with construction lasting for a period of 40 months.
As the first of its magnitude in South Africa, the Mtentu bridge will be one of the longest main span balanced cantilever bridges in the world and will reach heights of approximately 220m and will span 1.1km.
Sanral added that the N2 Wild Coast road project will be a major job creator in an area with an extremely high unemployment rate.
Sanral’s direct job creation forecast is 1.8 million man-days or 8,000 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) jobs over the construction period of four to five years.