Good news for Eastern Cape as Rumdel progresses with R63 route

A completely new 65m long five-span bridge is being built over Mxelo River, with the old bridge to be demolished.
A completely new 65m long five-span bridge is being built over Mxelo River, with the old bridge to be demolished.

SANRAL’s significant upgrade of the R63 route from Fort Beaufort to Alice is progressing well. The contractor, Rumdel Construction Cape, is completing the revamp of Fort Beaufort’s main road, while the rural section is well advanced. AfriSam is providing its High Strength Cement for structures such as bridges and culverts.

Rumdel Construction Cape project manager Alistair De Lacy says the project is also having plenty of positive spin-off for local subcontractors, suppliers and workers. Two years into the project, the contractors have engaged over 70 small business – or targeted enterprises – and about 90 will benefit by the end of the project in October 2023.

“To build their capacity while ensuring compliance with the required standards, Rumdel trains, mentors and supervises targeted enterprises at all stages of the project,” says De Lacy. “The contract has provided work for about 800 people, of which about 570 are local.”

Construction materials leader AfriSam is supplying the cement for all structural elements of the contract – for the most part with its High Strength 52.5N Cement. This is ensuring high quality results for the project’s three new bridges, two bridge widenings, 12 cast-in-situ box culverts and V-drains.

About 4 100 m³ of durability concrete has been poured for the monolithic decks of three bridges, 2 600 m³ for the culverts and 7 000 m³ for side drains and channels. AfriSam is also supplying its specialist road stabilising Roadstab Cement, of which 1 300 tonnes are going into road by-passes and 4 500 tonnes for the main works.

On the over 2 km length of Campbell Street, the main road through Fort Beaufort, a 650 mm pavement with a 40 mm asphalt overlay has been constructed. Before the road could be completed, though, the street’s drainage, sewer and water networks were rehabilitated. This task included the complex marrying-up of new networks with the old systems.

On the 20,4 km rural route between Fort Beaufort and Alice, the road is being widened to 13,4 m – with considerable vertical and horizontal alignment for gentler curves and more gradual slopes. This requires fills of up to 15 m, leading to the project’s total fill volume being expected to reach 680 000 m³.

“A key element of the project has been the early completion of 12 cast-in-situ box culverts along the route,” says De Lacy. “This allowed us to place fill material and let it settle for the required five-month duration before proceeding.”

Extensive bridge widening and construction is included in the contract. On either side of Fort Beaufort, two bridges have been widened – over the Kat and Brak rivers respectively. On the route to Alice, a new 65 m bridge is being constructed over the Mxelo River. Two road-over-rail bridges – the Kwatinidubu and Kwezana bridges – are being replaced.

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