A temporary cableway that will drastically reduce the travelling time between the South and North sites of the Msikaba Bridge will soon be operational on the N2 Wild Coast Road (N2WCR) Project.
The distance between the north and south banks of the Msikaba Bridge site is approximately 600m but is currently only accessible via an almost three-hour drive by road over 96km. The cable car will enable site staff to cross the gorge in an estimated three to four minutes.
The cable car, which can accommodate up to six people or 500kg in weight, will transport site staff and occasionally small quantities of material from the south to the north bank and vice versa.
“Even though the two sides of the bridge are effectively being built as two sub-projects, each with its own staff, equipment and material, it is necessary for senior staff and specialists to be able to access both sides of the gorge easily. Due to the logistical problems of getting from one side of the site to the other, the cableway is being installed for temporary use by staff for the remaining duration of the construction period,” said Craig McLachlan, SANRAL’s lead project manager on the N2WCR Project.
A company from Switzerland, licensed to install cableways, has been appointed to carry out the work. Work on the cableway started a year ago but was substantially delayed when the coronavirus pandemic curtailed international travel. The installation of the cableway is estimated to be completed in mid-July 2021.
The South African National Roads Agency SOC Limited (SANRAL), as the custodian of the N2WCR Project, is making steady progress in developing this multi-billion-rand project, which will serve as a crucial economic artery in the region.
The R1.65 billion Msikaba Bridge is currently under construction. The cable-stay bridge, with a 580m span and 195m height, is expected to be completed by the end of 2023.
The N2WCR Project entails upgrading the 410km of road, which stretches from East London to the Mtamvuna River, on the border between the Eastern Cape and the KwaZulu-Natal provinces. The project is located on the N2, which connects four provinces, i.e. the Western Cape, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga, and traverses the cities and major towns of Cape Town, George, Port Elizabeth, East London, Mthatha, Durban and Ermelo.
The project consists of two mega bridges, the Mtentu Bridge and the Msikaba Bridge projects, and seven other major road works projects, including several major bridges and interchange structures.
Tenders for the Mtentu Bridge project has closed, and it is currently in adjudication. A contractor is expected to be appointed in the second half of 2021. Provided that there are no significant delays on the Mtentu Bridge project, the construction period is estimated to be 46 months, including a four-month mobilisation period.