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Update on force majeure at Mtentu bridge between Aveng-Strabag JV and SANRAL

BY: IRMA VENTER CREAMER MEDIA SENIOR DEPUTY EDITOR - 25 FEBRUARY 2019

The Aveng Strabag joint venture (ASJV) in early February terminated the R1.6-billion bridge contract, in the Eastern Cape.

ASJV declared a force majeure, stating that it had been unable to work on the project site since October last year, owing to continued violent protests related to job and contract demands made against Sanral.

Sanral, however, believed the situation had stabilised sufficiently, through intervention at community level, for the joint venture to have continued operations on site.

Sanral and ASJV are currently locked in a legal process related to project guarantees.

The proposed 1.1 km Mtentu bridge forms part of Sanral’s N2 Wild Coast road (N2WCR) project, which is a national priority project.

It falls under the coordination and direction of the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission and is one of government’s 18 Strategic Integrated Projects aimed at supporting economic development and service delivery in South Africa’s poorest provinces.

Should the Mtentu bridge be completed, it will be one of the longest main-span balanced cantilever bridges in the world, reaching heights of around 220 m.

The twin support towers of the bridge will be between 55 and 60 storeys high – higher than Africa’s tallest building, the Carlton Centre – with construction teams then building the bridge deck from these towers. Taking into account the height of the towers, as well as the fact that the bridge crosses a gorge, dealing with high winds may prove particularly challenging.

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