Msikaba Bridge opens to retender

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Architectural representation of the Msikaba Bridge which opens to retender today. Construction of the bridge is set to begin in late 2018.

Port Elizabeth, 3 November 2017 – The tender process for the Msikaba Bridge, which forms part of the N2 Wild Coast Road (N2WCR) project, has been reopened, the South African National Roads Agency SOC Ltd (SANRAL) announced today.

The bridge, located approximately 23km east of Lusikisiki in the Eastern Cape, forms part of the backbone of the greenfields portion of the N2WCR – a national priority under coordination and direction of the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission (PICC) and one of government’s 18 Strategic Integrated Projects (SIPs) to support economic development and address service delivery in the poorest provinces.

“The initial tender for the Msikaba Bridge was cancelled as no acceptable tenders were received in the original tender process. The retendering process is now open and we are confident that this round of tendering will be successful,” Vusi Mona, SANRAL’s General Communications Manager said.

Tendering for the approximately R1.7 billion bridge project will close in March 2018 and construction can be expected to begin in the second half of 2018. The construction of the Msikaba Bridge is expected to last approximately 33 months.

“All firms or consortiums who are able to meet the stringent technical functionality requirements that include relevant past company experience in construction of major bridges – particularly cable stay bridges, have key staff with the necessary experience and expertise and the necessary financial stability to undertake a R1.7 billion project over approximately three year period have been invited to tender,” Mona said.

A minimum of 30% SMME participation goal has been set for the project and only firms or entities (Joint Ventures) with a Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) scorecard of level 4 or higher will be eligible to tender.

The 580m Msikaba Bridge will cross the 195m deep Msikaba river gorge and will be the longest span cable-stayed suspension bridge in South Africa and the second longest in Africa after the 680m Maputo-Catembe Bridge currently under construction in Mozambique.

Together with the Mtentu Bridge the Msikaba Bridge will play an essential role in improving travel time, connecting previously divided communities in the region and opening up opportunities in business and community-based tourism for the Wild Coast.

“By improving the travel time between Durban and East London by up to three hours for heavy freight and by providing a high mobility route through an area that is extremely isolated and underserved by road infrastructure, the route will have significant social and economic benefits and will act as a catalyst for local and regional development,” Mona said.

Direct job creation on the N2WCR greenfields projects have been forecasted at 1.8 million man-days or 8 000 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) jobs over the construction period of four to five years.

“More than R400 million will be allocated to wages for unskilled, semi-skilled and skilled workers employed directly on the N2WCR project and a further R1.5 billion is destined for local SMMEs comprising of local contractors and local suppliers of goods and services to the road and bridge construction projects,” Mona added.

Construction of the R1.634 billion Mtentu Bridge which was awarded to the Aveng Strabag Joint Venture (JV) in July is set to start in early January and is scheduled to last approximately 40 months.

“As the Msikaba Bridge will have a construction period that is approximately seven months shorter than the nearby Mtentu Bridge, the retender of the Msikaba Bridge will not affect the overall completion date of the N2WCR as the two bridges will be completed within a few months of each other,” Mona concluded.

Issued on behalf of SANRAL by Meropa Communications

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