Polihali dam and Polihali transfer tunnel construction to commence soon

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Work on the Polihali dam and Polihali transfer tunnel is due to commence after the Lesotho Highlands Development Authority (LHDA), awards the two contracts. The start of the “final lap” of the construction of the water transfer infrastructure is signaled by the awarding of the contracts.

The two contracts are the biggest to date for the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP) Phase II. The multibillion Maloti contracts will start construction in November and December, respectively. The commissioning is scheduled for 2028. According to LHDA CEO Tente Tente, it is an exciting moment for both the LHDA and the project.

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The CEO said that they are confident that they will deliver quality engineering showpieces. They will carefully manage impacts on people and the environment. LHDA has a huge experience in delivering big and complex infrastructure projects.

The dam’s contractor

The M7.68 billion Polihali dam contract was secured by the SUN joint venture (JV). Sinohydro Bureau 8 and 14 from China, Unik Civil Engineering from South Africa, and Nthane Brothers from Lesotho are the JV’s main partners.

Mecsa Construction, Melki Civils and Plant Hire, and Sigma Construction, both of which are from South Africa, as well as Kunming Engineering, of China, and Lesotho, are subcontractors.

The construction will be supervised by the Matla-Metsi JV. The supervisor is comprised of the South African companies GIBB and MPAMOT Africa, Tractebel Engineering SA/Coyne et Bellier. It is said that the headquarters are based in France. LYMA Consulting Engineers has offices in Lesotho.

That will be featured in the dam’s construction

A reservoir with a surface area of 5,053 ha will be created on the Senqu and Khubelu rivers by the Polihali dam, a concrete-faced rockfill dam similar to the Mohale dam that was constructed in Phase I of the LHWP. A spillway, an outlet structure for compensation, and a mini hydroelectric power station are also included in the infrastructure.

In the meantime, the M9.2 billion Polihali transfer tunnel will be built by the Kopana Ke Matla JV. This is a partnership between the Chinese firms Yellow River Company, Sinohydro Bureau 3, and Unik Civil Engineering.

Nthane Brothers, Esor Construction from South Africa, and Mecsa Construction are subcontractors on this project.

The project’s supervisors

The Metsi a Senqu-Khubelu Consultants JV, will oversee construction. The consultants include the Lesotho-based FM Associates. They also involve the South African companies Zutari South Africa, Hatch Africa, Knight Piesold, and SMEC South Africa.

Water will be transferred by gravity from the Polihali reservoir to the Katse reservoir.

This 38 km tunnel project also involves access adits to the waterway, associated construction infrastructure, the intake works, and the gate shaft at the Polihali reservoir. It also allows access to outlet works as well as a gate shaft at the existing Katse reservoir with an underwater connection to the lake.

Notice for the award of the contracts of the Polihali dam and Polihali transfer tunnel

The notice of award for the Polihali dam and Polihali transfer tunnel contracts will be published on the LHDA’s website. It will also be published along with details about other bidders and their performances.

As of March 2023, bids for engineering, environmental, and social consultants should be forwarded by that date.

The awards were made public shortly after the procurement process for the Oxbow Hydropower Scheme, which is also crucial to Phase II, began.