Civil engineering construction company Esorfranki is making progress on its flagship R240-million BG3 pipeline project, having further excavated the trench, and is expecting to lay pipes imminently, says Esorfranki CEO Bernie Krone.
It was hoped that the laying of the pipes would start at the end of October, but this was deferred to early November. Esorfranki hopes to have laid the first 200 m of pipes by the end of the year.
The company is constructing the BG3 pipeline, from the Vaal dam to the Zoekfontein control works, 8,6 km away, for water utility Rand Water. This will increase the capacity to the Zuikerbosch pumping station.
The project failed to get off the ground after it was awarded in February, having experienced periods of inactivity and several challenges, including outstanding water licences. All the licences have since been approved, save one. Krone says that the company is awaiting resolution on a licence to construct within the 1:100-year flood line, although he believes that this will be in place by the time construction reaches the relevant area.
He believes that the project will be in full production by March 2011; should this happen, and the 1:100-year flood line licence is approved, the project could still reach completion by June 2012.
The BG3 pipeline will run adjacent to the existing BG1 and BG2 pipelines that feed the Witwatersrand with water, with the BG2 being the closest to the new pipeline. Once the BG3 pipeline has been commissioned, the two older pipelines could be shut down for refurbishment. Should the BG2 pipeline be damaged during the excavation process and the damage not be repaired within eight hours, it could mean that the Witwatersrand would be without water until the repairs are complete, explains Esorfranki Pipelines MD Dave Gibbons.
There have been challenges in finding a blasting technique that meets with Rand Water’s approval. Krone says that the company is working closely with the water utility in this regard and has a blasting pattern that it is currently working to and refining. This may be adapted, depending on ground conditions.
The steel pipes are 3,5 m in diameter, with a 10-mm wall, and are epoxy-lined inside and outside. Cathodic protection will also be employed at the end of the project for further corrosion protection. The 19-m pipes, each weighing about 20 t, will be joined in place in the trench with a continuous weld, using about 40 km, or 16 t, of welding rods. The water capacity of the pipes is about 20 m3/s.
Esorfranki is responsible for the reinstating of the land after the project, as well as maintenance of the pipeline, for a 12-month period after commissioning. Thereafter, Rand Water will be responsible for maintenance.
The company is also hopeful of being awarded a R800-million joint venture bulk water supply project, in Durban. There has been an extension of validity to December 15, says Krone. It is hoped that the project will be awarded in November.