Construction of the R4.05bn Mtentu Bridge begins

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The South African National Roads Agency SOC Limited (SANRAL) has made the announcement about the commencement of construction work on the significant Mtentu Bridge contract. This follows a four-month mobilization phase which began on April 5, 2023, and concluded on August 4, 2023.

The contract for the Mtentu Bridge was granted to the China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) and MECSA Construction joint venture (CCCC MECSA JV) on November 1, 2022. The allocated budget for the Mtentu Bridge contract is estimated to be R4.05 billion. The construction of the bridge is expected to span 50 months, with a projected completion date towards the end of 2027.

“Throughout the mobilization phase, SANRAL interacted with stakeholders from both the Northern and Southern sides of the Mtentu Bridge. The local stakeholders have received information about the contract being re-awarded with enthusiasm and are eagerly anticipating the resumption of work after the project halt in October 2018,” explained Mbulelo Peterson, Southern Regional Manager at SANRAL.”

The height of the Mtentu Bridge

Once completed, the Mtentu Bridge will be the highest in Africa and one of the longest main-span balanced cantilever bridges in the world, with a main span of 260 metres at a maximum height of around 223 metres.

This week, a team of 15 general workers will initiate the construction of site offices, while 30 general laborers will undergo medical assessments and safety training. Afterward, they will engage in site clearance and grass cutting activities. Additionally, two recently qualified unemployed civil engineering graduates have been enlisted through the Project Liaison Committee (PLC) to contribute to this contract.


The commencement of borehole construction on both the North and South banks is scheduled for August 15. Following that, on September 1, activities including toilet construction, security installations, and the relocation of affected households will commence.


The Mtentu Bridge is an integral component of SANRAL’s N2 Wild Coast Road (N2WCR) initiative, encompassing a 410km road stretch from East London to the Mtamvuna River on the border between the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal provinces. Approved by the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission (PICC), the N2WCR program serves as a catalyst for economic advancement in the region and is part of the government’s 18 Strategic Infrastructure Projects (SIPS). The N2WCR, identified as SIP3, specifically targets South-Eastern node and Corridor Development, aiming to significantly stimulate economic growth in the Eastern Cape and KZN provinces.

The Mtentu Bridge contract has a local labour Contract Participation Goal (CPG) of 4%. This will see a minimum of R141 million (excl. VAT) being paid to local labour in wages and salaries, creating a minimum of 1080 full-time employment (FTE) jobs for local skilled and unskilled persons during the contract.

“We are excited about the massive socio-economic impact presented by the construction of the Mtentu Bridge in this region. Approximately 1 800 full-time equivalent jobs will be produced during construction. While numbers will vary during the contract, this equates to an average approximate number of 360 jobs created per month over 50 months, of whom about 300 will be for locals,” added Peterson.

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

“The establishment of the Project Liaison Committee responsible for supervising the effective project execution and protecting the concerns of the nearby residents has occurred subsequent to its selection by community representatives in 2021. Peterson emphasized that this PLC framework will play a crucial role in guaranteeing the attainment of the 30% contract participation objective specified in the agreement and in securing advantages for the designated recipients.”

Also read Construction works on US $4bn Mtentu bridge in South Africa halts