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Upgrading of the R573 (Moloto Road) between Moteti and Marble Hall for safety and capacity purposes

Client: SANRAL SOC Ltd Consulting Engineers: LEO Consulting in partnership with Mowana Engineers

The Moloto Road (R573), between Pretoria and Marble Hall, is notorious for serious and fatal accidents and has earned the title “Road of Death”.  The Leo/Mowana partnership was appointed by SANRAL to provide full engineering services for upgrading the section between Moteti and Marble Hall.  The existing road had one 3.7m wide lane per direction with gravel shoulders.  The section was divided into two, based on the development environment with the first section being urban and peri-urban (19.0 km) and the second section rural (24.8 km). 

During the development of the Design Report, the future traffic volumes dictated that the urban and peri-urban section should be constructed to dual carriageway standard and the rural section upgraded to a single carriageway.  The dual carriageway section is the standard SANRAL undivided dual carriageway cross-section (with concrete median barrier) and the single carriageway section a standard Class 1 cross-section.

Historically development along the R573 was allowed with minimal control over locations of access to private property resulting in most properties abutting on the road reserve having direct access.  A traffic management plan, pedestrian management plan and a public transport management plan were therefore required to form part of the Design Report.  The R573 is the only major road serving the communities along this route which required a compromise between mobility and accessibility.  One of the elements introduced as a result of this compromise was the introduction of roundabouts at selected intersections.  The numerous accesses to the road have been consolidated onto parallel access roads which collect traffic and provide access to the R573 at approved intersections.

The upgrading also requires the replacement of a river bridge and various drainage structures to ensure adequate geometric standards were maintained, with existing irrigation canals and road crossings extended/modified to suit the new alignment.  

After the award of the project in January 2016, the team were instructed by the client that a contractor, even if for a portion of the road, had to be on site prior to the August 2016 municipal elections.  This tight timeline was achieved with the 24.8 km rural section awarded to the successful contractor at the beginning of August 2016 while still adhering to the EIA regulations and other legislative processes.  Once the tender had been awarded the design of the urban/ peri-urban area continued.

Through creative design and exceptional teamwork, the major constraints were overcome and the design was delivered in record time and to the required specification. The contract value upon completion is estimated as R1.215 billion.

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