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Feb 05, 2010

Subprojects under way for R56-million airport upgrade

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The R56-million upgrade to Mthatha Airport, in the Eastern Cape, is under way with three subprojects currently active.

The extensive upgrade will include the building of a temporary terminal structure, the terminal building upgrade, civil works, fencing, a new parking area converting the existing parking to a pay parking facility, an extended VIP lounge, new premises for car rental companies and curio shops.

The proposed alterations to the terminal building include expansion to a total floor area of 1370 m2, remodelling of the check-in, baggage handling and security check areas and the construction of a new roof.

Osmond Lange Ikemeleng Architects joint venture (JV) architect William Martinson tells Engineering News that the Eastern Cape Department of Roads and Transport decided to split the Mthatha Airport upgrade project into a number of smaller subprojects. This is aimed at facilitating the development of emerging contractors in the Mthatha region.

The three subprojects currently under way are the replacement of the security fencing, the renovation to the airport terminal building and the alterations and additions to the parking area and civil works.

The replacement of the security fencing is part of the first phase to replace the existing precast concrete palisade fence with a more robust secure welded mesh fence with a concrete ground beam. Martinson reports that this R5,4-million contract was awarded to Intellec Construction represented by Xolisa Skenjana. This subcontract is expected to last 12 months and the site was handed over to the contractor last December.

The second subproject under way involves the repair and renovation of the Mthatha Air-port terminal building, which aims to create a light, modern airport structure. “The aim is to break the existing mould of an apartheid-era face-brick building through significant renovations and adaptive reuse of the existing terminal building. This will rectify the ageing infrastructure and will create an appropriate image for Mthatha,” says Martinson.

He adds that this portion of the project is currently subject to the resolution of a number of issues arising from the submission of the priced bill of quantities by the successful contractor. Once these have been resolved, the Eastern Cape Department of Roads and Transport will advise on a way forward, he says.

Martinson explains that a temporary prefabricated building has been constructed adjacent to the terminal building to allow the existing airport to continue operating during the construction phase. Built by construction firm Group 5, using the company’s advanced building technology suite of products, construction on the temporary building on site started in mid-November 2009 and was completed at the end of January.

The third subproject under way involves the alterations and additions to the parking area, as well as the civil works contract, which was awarded to the Ludumo/Almo Projects JV, represented by Luzuko Matyolo and Raymond Ally. Martinson says that the 12-month contract, which involves the crea-tion of a temporary parking area, significant extensions to the existing parking area and the civil engineering works necessary to connect the airport sewer to the existing wastewater treatment works on the western edge of the site, is valued at over R10-million. The site was handed over to the contractor on December 7, 2009.

Future development phases at the airport will include a new car rental building, an upgrade to the freight building and the replacement of the balance of the precast concrete security fencing.

Edited by: Brindaveni Naidoo
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