South Africa’s N4 road rehabilitation

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Construction on South Africa’s N4 road rehabilitation project began in 2009 and involves various projects stretching from Witbank in South Africa to Maputo in Mozambique. The Melrose Interchange project involves upgrading the existing at-grade intersection to a grade-separated free-flow interchange. The project commenced at the beginning of 2022 and is expected to be completed by June 2023.

The Wonderfontein to Belfast road rehabilitation works is being undertaken by Actophambili Roads. The project commenced was scheduled in January 2022  and is expected to be completed by December 2023.

Traffic volumes increase on the N4 route to Gauteng - SABC News

Reported in August 2014

N4 Road rehabilitation in South Africa to be carried out

The N4 road project between Rustenburg and Tshwane will receive an additional 32km extension as plans to transform it into a dual carriage freeway continues. This will help improve the status of the road, making it safer by decongesting the traveling between the two towns.

The contract for the construction of the road is prized at over US $35.80M and will include the construction of a second carriageway with bridges and the broadening of existing bridges to accommodate the new carriageway.

The rehabilitation process of concrete slab roads at all toll plazas along N4 and N1 began in June 2010 and is going on well. Some of the construction plaza projects that have been completed include Zambezi, Swartruggens, Stormvoel, Marikana, and Brits, with the overall plaza contract worth US $5.93m. Completion is expected in June 2016.

Rehabilitation work on the next phase of N4 between Swartruggens and Zeerust is scheduled for early 2015, with its completion expected to be in 2018. Design works on the same are being finalized. 28 SMME and BEE subcontractors were involved by the main contractor after undergoing formal training with Bakwena.

The N4 road project was expected to be completed in August 2014 after a 33 months tendering period. However, an extension period has been established due to the much rainfall downpour that happened during the construction period.

Reported in March 2018

Upgrading of road infrastructure along the N1N4 in South Africa to commence soon

Upgrade and maintenance of road infrastructure along the 385 km of the N1N4 are set to Kick off soon. Bakwena, a road construction and maintenance company based in South Africa, plans to execute upgrading and maintenance at a cost of US $84.8m. Upgrade and maintenance of the infrastructure is part of its concession contract with the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral).

An estimated US $23.2m will be spent on the reconstruction of the N4 in Groot Marico, between Vaalkop and the Swartruggens boundary. In fact, the project was awarded in mid-2017 to G4Civils and is expected to be completed by April next year.

In order to improve the driving experience for motorists and commuters, the N4 westbound carriageway between the R512 and Buffelspoort interchange will be rehabilitated. The project scope of work entails overlaying the existing surface with a 40 mm thick new asphalt surface, as well as conducting base layer repairs and gravel reconstruction.

The US $8.5m contract has been awarded to Roadmac Surfacing and is expected to be concluded by October this year.

Also, the US $4.7m projects to upgrade the R511 interchange is awarded to Raubex Construction. The project, however, includes the provision of west-facing ramps and is due for completion in February 2019.

Meanwhile, the second carriageway on the N4 between the M17 and the R512 (Brits Interchange) started in March. The estimated construction period is 36 months at a projected cost of US $49.4m and the contract is currently awarded to Raubex Construction.

Extension of structures

The project will include the extension of structures to accommodate the second carriageway, the realignment of interchange ramps to tie in with the new carriageway and a bridge over the Crocodile river all aimed at vastly improving road safety and traffic capacity.

According to Liam Clarke, Bakwena Commercial Manager, the impact of the poorly maintained road is negative on South African communities and the country in general. They intensify isolation, poverty, illiteracy, and poor health in rural societies.

“When road infrastructure is not maintained, it can constrain mobility, significantly raising vehicle operating costs and increasing crash rates and property costs,” said Liam Clarke.

Neglected roads

He further added that deferred maintenance also held unintended costs. Neglected roads become more difficult to use over time, increasing vehicle operating costs in the form of frequent repairs and higher fuel use. This often creates an unwillingness by transport operators to use the roads.

“It also places an additional burden on the economy, as passenger and freight services are curtailed, there is a consequent loss of economic and social development opportunities, not only in areas directly affected but in the rest of the country and across our borders,” cautioned Clarke.

However, Sanral estimates that repair costs are six times greater after three years of neglect and 18 times greater after five years of neglect. Regular upgrades and maintenance can save the country millions of dollars in the long term.

Reported in March 2020

Bakwena Corridor to undergo US $3.3m upgrade

Bakwena Platinum Corridor Concessionaire (Bakwena) is set to undergo a US $3.3m upgrade project which will involve an addition of a 32km second carriageway on the N4 between the M17 and R512 (Brits Interchange). The project is expected to take 36 months.

Recent developments in the corridor

Recent developments include the dualling of the N4 bridge which crosses the Crocodile River. This bridge has five spans, each consisting of 10 precast reinforced concrete beams. Each beam weighs 26 tonnes and is individually transported via a process that involved a horse truck on one side and a steering trailer where a crane lifts each individual beam onto the bridge piers structure for it to be secured.

According to Bakwena commercial manager Solomon Kganyago, the dualling project is on track. “As part of the ongoing works related to the addition of 32km of a second carriageway, the R511 west-facing ramp will be temporarily closed after the nationwide lockdown period,” he said. He further added that the addition of the carriageway will ​enhance motorists’​ ​driving​ ​experience​ ​and​ ​improve​ ​their​ ​overall​ ​safety​ ​on​ ​the​ ​route.

About Bakwena

The Bakwena N1 and N4 freeways are maintained and operated by Pt Operational Services (“Pt Ops”), an independent company contracted to Bakwena. Pt Operational Services is based in Pretoria and is responsible for operations and routine road maintenance, including the collection of tolls, maintenance of roadside furniture and repair of potholes, line painting, grass cutting, vegetation management, and maintenance of the drainage system and collection of refuse along the Bakwena routes. This maintenance work ensures that the Bakwena N1N4 toll road is kept in good order for the duration of the concession until 2031.

Bakwena is also responsible for the periodic rehabilitation and upgrading of the road. Periodic rehabilitation is done based on the results of a Pavement Management System managed by professional engineers. These interventions enable Bakwena to meet certain engineering specifications in the concession contract. Upgrade works, such as lane, bridge, and interchange expansions, are determined based on specific road traffic levels of service that are required to meet in terms of our contract.

Reported in March 2020

Upgrade works on N4 highway in South Africa on track

The upgrading of the N4 highway between Belfast and Machadodorp is on course and progressing well with 26% of the project completed, this is according to Toll route manager Trans African Concessions (Trac). The US $260,465 project which commenced in 2019 will see 30km of Section 5B rehabilitated and upgraded to a four-lane carriageway with the roadworks expected to take at least 36 months to complete.

The contractor WBHO Construction noted that to date there have been no delays experienced yet as they aim for the 3 years completion deadline. The project is not only going to benefit road users but also the local community by creating 300 direct jobs with 21 local small and medium-sized enterprises being appointed to various roles including supply of raw materials this is according to a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed between WBHO, construction company Motheo, the eMakhazeni local municipality, Trac and the South African National Roads Agency (SANRAL).

Maintaining the smooth flow of traffic

In addition, Trac has noted that cutting and blasting activity is progressing well according to the schedule on the route and that several traffic accommodations have been implemented to enable a smooth flow of traffic and will remain in place throughout the project period including contraflows, speed reductions, and occasional stop and go. Notifications of this can be seen on the route as well as Trac’s social media platforms.

Moreover, road users have been urged to visit Trac’s website for regular updates on the state of the road so as to be able to plan their trips effectively without inconvenience. Trac is also working on the 15.5km route situated between Kaapmuiden and the Magnesite Mine at Kaalrug Intersection, in the Lowveld, Mpumalanga. The roadworks include upgrading of the carriageway to four lanes and rehabilitating the existing road. The project is valued at approximately US $22.1m and is scheduled to take 24 months to complete.

Reported in November 2021

Steady Progress on the N4 Road Construction in South Africa

Despite the fact that works on the N4 Road Construction in South Africa have been delayed owing to a variety of factors, including the Covdi-19 outbreak, TRAC has stated that it plans to finish projects around the city by December. The new Karino Interchange is currently 87% complete, according to TRAC spokesman Solange Soares.

The present crossroads will be turned into a grade-separated interchange with on- and off-ramps, as well as a bridge that will divide cross-traffic from through traffic to relieve traffic flow at the intersection. The project was previously estimated at R390 million.

N4 Road Construction Delays
According to Soares, there have been some minor delays in the N4 Road Construction in South Africa progress owing to unanticipated conditions like weather and further Covid limitations and lockout measures. She also added that if the project is further delayed due to factors beyond the company’s control, the project would be finished by February 2022 at the earliest.

Asphalt paving on the ramps, the mainline roadway, and final finishing work, she said, have still to be completed.

TRAC has stated that the N4 and the bridge would be reopened before or during the holiday season. This, however, might alter if further unanticipated difficulties arise. TRAC added that if this is the case, it will deploy more pointsmen with greater frequency during periods of heavy traffic congestion to enhance traffic flow.

Construction work at Kaapmuiden is planned to be completed by the end of November 2021, according to Soares. However, the road in this part is open and operating, including all lanes. Only the final finishing touches are being completed at this time, and they will not cause any delays in commuting.

Tau Pele Construction is in charge of this project, which comprises widening the highway to four lanes and renovating the current road, which extends for 15.5 kilometers.

Reported in January 2022

Road Rehabilitation Between Kameeldrift, Ga-Rankuwa to Begin

As part of its 2022 scheduled maintenance program, road management organization Bakwena Platinum Highway will rehabilitate the base layers in the left-hand lane on parts of the N4 between Kameeldrift and Ga-Rankuwa Interchanges. Last year, G4 Civils was given an 18-month contract after the comprehensive design for this project was finished. Work is set to begin on January 18 and is slated to be completed in June 2023.

Restoration of Kameeldrift and Ga-Rankuwa Interchanges

The restoration includes major layer work removal and reconstruction, as well as a 40 mm asphalt overlay. During construction, the slow lane will be blocked in portions of 5 kilometers for 12-week periods, reducing traffic capacity significantly. Bakwena warned that lane closures may cause delays, especially during peak hours along this area, and asked motorists to plan their travels properly to account for the delays or use alternate routes.

In July of this year, a second rehabilitation project will begin on the N1 between Pienaarsrivier and Bela Bela. In June 2023, the project is projected to be finished. Milling and repair of layer works are required, followed by a 40 mm asphalt overlay. During this maintenance, lane closures will be in effect.

Bakwena COO Solomon Kganyago noted that road user safety would continue to be a top concern for the corporation, adding that in order to achieve this, they will rely on road users to work with them and follow the road signs or traffic accommodations in place. He also asked motorists to be cautious and patient while the business completes these vital repair projects.

Bakwena takes pleasure in ensuring that the 385 kilometers of the road it maintains under its concession contract are maintained to the highest international standards, according to Kganyago. The renovations will increase the overall safety of the road surfaces while also improving the driving experience for motorists.