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N2 Wild Coast Toll Road megabridge project – Msikaba bridge, South Africa – update

Artist's impression of the Msikaba bridge

Photo by South African National Roads Agency Limited

26th January 2024

By: Sheila Barradas

Creamer Media Research Coordinator & Senior Deputy Editor

     

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Name of the Project
N2 Wild Coast Toll Road (N2WCTR) megabridge project – Msikaba bridge. 

Location
The bridge will be built over the Msikaba river gorge near Lusikisiki, in South Africa’s Eastern Cape province.

The Msikaba bridge is located on the N2, which connects the Western Cape, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga provinces, and traverses the cities and major towns of Cape Town, George, Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth), East London, Mthatha, Durban and Ermelo. This includes a new greenfield section of 112 km between Port St Johns and Port Edward, including the two megabridges and several additional major river interchange bridges.

Only the new greenfield section of the project will be tolled. None of the sections between East London and Mthatha or between Mthatha and Ndwalane, near Port St Johns, will be tolled.

Project Owner/s
South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral).

Project Description
The Msikaba bridge forms part of the N2WCTR project.

The 580-m-long bridge will be the longest main span bridge in Africa – built using the cable-stayed method – and the second-longest main bridge span in Africa after the Maputo-Catembe suspension bridge, in Mozambique. With a deck height of 194 m above the river valley, Msikaba will become the third-highest bridge in Africa and the 133rd-highest in the world. The cable-stay design will ensure that the construction of the bridge will have no direct impact on the pristine gorge environment almost 200 m below, which is one of the environmental requirements for building the bridge.

The bridge is being built from the north and south banks of the gorge and comprises two identical halves, each spanning 290 m, which will meet midpoint over the gorge. 

Each half is supported by 17 pairs of cables attached to the inverted Y-shaped pylons, one on each side of the gorge. 

The pylons are back-stayed into the anchor blocks, two on either side of the gorge, by 34 pairs of cables – 17 for each half – positioned 130 m behind each pylon. 

Each anchor block is 49 m long, 10 m wide at the base (narrowing to 4 m on the spine of the structure), 17.2 m deep, and a mass of 21 500 t. 

Potential Job Creation
About R86-million of the contract value has been allocated to targeted local labour and R515-million for subcontracting to targeted enterprises.

To date, R553-million has been spent on 157 targeted enterprises comprising 44 suppliers, 52 service providers and 61 subcontractors. About R93-million has been spent on wages for local labour, in addition to the targeted spend.

Of the 453 full-time-equivalent jobs that have been created on the Msikaba bridge to date, 391 are occupied by locals.

Capital Expenditure
The Msikaba bridge project will cost an estimated R1.75-billion.

Planned Start/End Date
Construction is expected to be completed by the end of 2024.

Latest Developments
Cable-stay strands manufactured in South Africa have failed some suitability tests after several attempts and will, therefore, be imported.

Reinforcing steel is readily available in South Africa and does not have to be imported for the project.

Key Contracts, Suppliers and Consultants
Concor Mota-Engil, a JV between Concor Construction and MECSA Construction (Msikaba bridge contract); HVA Joint Venture (Msikaba bridge consultants comprising CH2M and SMEC); V3 Consulting Engineers (lead consultant – Ndwalane to Ntafufu and Kulumbe to Mtamvuna river); ERO Engineers (lead consultant – Ntafufu to Bambisana turn-off); Naidu Consulting (lead consultant – Bambisana turn-off to Lingeni); Aurecon Rohm consortium (lead consultants – Lingeni to Msikaba); and Knight Piésold (lead consultant – Msikaba to Mtentu).

Contact Details for Project Information
Sanral, email pressoffice@nra.co.za.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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