N2 Wild Coast Toll Road (N2WCTR) megabridge project – Mtentu bridge, South Africa – update

22nd September 2023 By: Sheila Barradas - Creamer Media Research Coordinator & Senior Deputy Editor

N2 Wild Coast Toll Road (N2WCTR) megabridge project – Mtentu bridge, South Africa – update

Photo by: Sanral

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

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

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

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

The 1.13-km-long Mtentu bridge, which includes a 260-m-long main span, will be one of the longest main-span-balanced cantilever bridges in the world. Only ten prestressed concrete girder bridges worldwide have a main span of 260 m or longer. Reaching heights of more than 220 m above the river valley, it will displace the Bloukrans bridge, in the Western Cape, as the highest bridge in Africa and the southern hemisphere. The 141-m-tall Pier No 9 (equivalent to a 40-storey building in height) will also be the tallest bridge pier in Africa and the southern hemisphere.

Being one of the longest main-span-balanced cantilever bridges and one of the highest bridges in the world makes the construction of the Mtentu bridge a technically highly challenging project. The remote location and local social dynamics add to this complexity.

Potential Job Creation
The Mtentu Bridge contract has a local labour contract participation goal of 4%. This should result in a minimum of R141-million (excluding VAT) being paid to local labour in wages and salaries, creating a minimum of 1 080 full-time employment jobs for local skilled and unskilled persons during the contract period.

Capital Expenditure

Planned Start/End Date
Provided that there are no significant delays on the Mtentu bridge project, construction of the bridge is expected to take 50 months, with the project expected to be completed at the end of 2027.

Latest Developments
Sanral announced the restart of construction work on the Mtentu bridge contract in August 2023.

The Aveng Strabag joint venture (JV), responsible for building the then R1.6-billion structure, walked out on the project in early 2019, following months of violent community protests.

The scope of the new Mtentu tender has been expanded from the original terminated contract to include the upgrading of 18 km of provincial road, linking the future Mkhambati interchange to the Flagstaff–Holy Cross road, while providing for a direct link from the future N2 to the town of Flagstaff, as well as the construction of three nearby community access roads.

The new Mtentu contract was awarded to the China Communications Construction Company and MECSA Construction joint venture on November 1, 2022.

The restart follows a four-month mobilisation period, which started on April 5 and ended on August 4.

Construction of boreholes on the north and south banks started on August 15, while construction of toilets, installation of security measures and the relocation of affected households started on September 1.

Key Contracts, Suppliers and Consultants
Concor Mota-Engil, a JV between Concor Construction and MECSA Construction (Msikaba bridge contract); HVA JV (Msikaba and Mtentu 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); Knight Piésold (lead consultant – Msikaba to Mtentu); and KBK Engineers (lead consultant – Mtentu to Kulumbe).

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