The South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) has awarded the R237-million contract to upgrade National Route R61, Section 7 from Baziya to Mthatha Airport to H & I Construction.
The 27 km stretch of road is in the King Sabatha Dalindyebo local municipality, in the OR Tambo district, in the Eastern Cape.
Between 150 and 200 jobs are expected to be created for skilled and semiskilled workers during the construction phase. Skills development training will also be offered.
“An upgrade of the R61 is required, as there has been a substantial increase in traffic volumes over the past few years,” says Sanral southern region manager Mbulelo Peterson.
The work will take place within the existing road reserve. The project’s scope of work will include widening the existing road cross-section with surfaced shoulders and additional auxiliary lanes to facilitate traffic flow.
“Once completed, access to the airport and Mthatha will be improved owing to the wider road prism and surfaced shoulders.
"In addition, numerous intersections will be upgraded to improve traffic flow and ease turning movements into and out of the R61.”
All the major structures are about 95% complete.
Some access roads leading to the R61 will also be regravelled or surfaced.
“These access roads will be improved to ensure safer access points, as well as to reduce the number of access points to the R61. In addition, Sanral plans to provide a dual carriageway between Mthatha Airport and the Mthatha central business district to increase mobility and service levels in this area,” says Peterson.
The 18-month contract includes a three-month mobilisation period. During the mobilisation period, the contractor will establish a site office, undertake a skills audit of the targeted enterprises in the project area, identify work packages for sub-contracting opportunities, and recruit local labour.
The contractor will start construction of the remaining work in September and the contract is expected to be completed in November 2022.
The contract was retendered late last year, after the initial contract was terminated in August 2019 owing to nonperformance by the previous contractor.
H & I Construction, previously known as Triamic Construction, has more than 20 years of experience completing numerous major roads and bridge infrastructure projects for Sanral in various provinces.