Concor Roads & Earthworks, an operating division of South African construction contractor Murray & Roberts Construction, is hoping to secure the next phase of the Bakwena toll concession, expected to start in January 2014, reports Concor Roads & Earthworks MD Eric Wisse.
The initial contract was awarded in 2011 by the Bakwena Platinum N1N4 toll road concessionaire for the rehabilitation of about 22 km of double carriageway road along a section of the N1/N4 Bakwena toll highway, between Hammanskraal and Pienaarsrivier, situated on either side of the Gauteng/Limpopo geographical border.
The R220-million project started in March 2012, while the next phase of the upgrade, from Pienaarsrivier to Bela Bela, went out to tender in October 2013.
The Bakwena Platinum N1N4 toll road consists of a 95 km section of the N1, running from Pretoria northwards to the town of Bela Bela and a 290 km section of the N4, running from Pretoria westwards to the Botswana border.
Wisse says the e-tolling debate does create a level of uncertainty as far as the future of toll roads is concerned, as well as, in particular, the next phases of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project.
He explains that it is challenging to secure work in the roads sector as the current downturn in the construction industry has resulted in the industry being extremely competitive, putting pressure on profit margins. However, Sanral provides a steady stream of nontoll work throughout the country, which is encouraging, notes Wisse.
Concor does a lot of its own investigations into material supply and design, and has its own crushing, asphalt mixing and placing capacity, including ultra- thin friction course capabilities, he says.
Further, the company is using a material transfer vehicle, or Shuttle Buggy to meet customers’ demand for a high-quality road surface. Bought in Canada, the technology offers increased smoothness and consistency, which are essential factors in the performance of the asphalt surface, according to Wisse.
He says the company is an infrastructure service provider and, apart from roads, also provides mining infrastructure, bulk earthworks, dams, rails, airports and various other infrastructure services.
The company aims to expand its operations in Southern Africa into the rest of Africa; however, he adds that it is difficult to estab- lish a business in another country, as the logistics and, specifi- cally, the transportation of machinery are expensive and local players do not have to incur these costs.