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From my perspective:
The inland route does seem daunting when you look at the 9 hour trip to get to East London from Durbs ( especially if you are an international self drive couple and want to do Durban, Wild Coast, Garden Route and Cape Town in one long road trip )
The lack of a road that shortens the time from Margate/Sth Coast has hindered port St Johns from getting a better tourism and development slice of the pie or certainly the "big" money and investment dries up at Port Edward, and doesn't show its face till Cintsa

Admittedly:
there are ecological consequences. Though it seems to me that the Transkei is so buggered by overgrazing that only the high hilltops, and the deep valleys have any trees/native forest left on them.
I cant see how a road could do any more harm than 4 million people all living rural existence without much in the way of dedication toward soil retention and appropriate animal agriculture practices and general conservationism?

At least the road may bring some form of prosperity in terms of the short term employment for building it, and long term more investment coming their way - and the ultimate hope of one day getting less people to rely on animals for survival/status/wealth and the massive damage they are doing to the land.

No doubt the road will do damage, but its the multinational dune/strip mining conglomerates that change names and faces every few years that are the real danger. Right now rural Trankeians are battling with corrupt chiefs and local govt, intimidation, beathings and even murder by paid-for thugs, and lack of media interest and face loosing traditional, beautiful land to these evil companies who extract, scar and poison the land and water.
 

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It's ridiculous that we are even discussing the importance of a road. It really should be self-evident.
 

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It's ridiculous that we are even discussing the importance of a road. It really should be self-evident.
Given where the road is going to run, it is of vital importance that we discuss it if you ask me.

The Wild Coast is a hugely sensitive ecosystem and should be protected.

We also know that SANRAL aren't the best judges of what is necessary or required so more than a bit of skepticism is to be expected.
 

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Discussion Starter #44
and the fact that they want toll booths in south durban to pay for the rest of the entire Eastern Cape route. cross funding from the MOST tolled province. Are there even ANY tolls in the EC today?
 

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and the fact that they want toll booths in south durban to pay for the rest of the entire Eastern Cape route. cross funding from the MOST tolled province. Are there even ANY tolls in the EC today?
That has been shelved for the "forseeable future", its one of the reasons they are pushing ahead. The legal challenge from the KZN side has fallen away so basically the well funded legal challenge is gone and all they are left with is the poor EC communities.

I personally don't see a toll road through the EC like that being all that heavily used, or if it is it won't be to any benefit of the communities in the area.
 

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Given where the road is going to run, it is of vital importance that we discuss it if you ask me.

The Wild Coast is a hugely sensitive ecosystem and should be protected.

We also know that SANRAL aren't the best judges of what is necessary or required so more than a bit of skepticism is to be expected.


Not at the expense of the communities living there. South Africans come first. We should not glamorise underdevelopment under the pretext of caring for the environment.

One can argue that every road or development is ecologically damaging to an extent. Some of the development that is taking place in Umhlanga is on ecologically sensitive dunes and coastal forests for example and yet you are not so vociferous in your objections.

The N2 in the Western Cape cuts through some of the most sensitive and beautiful nature in SA. And yet, it's what makes the road special. It is what makes the Garden route special.

The sensitive balancing of modern infrastructure and nature is what progress is all about. I personally feel that the infrastructure enhances natural setting. The soaring cable stayed bridge is what that part of EC needs. It will not only be a functional bridge it will be a tourist icon. Imagine the Garden Route will extend for more than 500km's rather than just 200km's or so, imagine the tourism opportunities this will open up in the Wild Coast.

Lastly, skepticism is fine, but it must be informed and constructive. And SANRAL is not known for that, yes amongst the ignorant masses it might, but amongst engineers and other knowledgeable stakeholders it's held up as one of the best road agencies, which designs some of the best roads on the planet. Our road network is testament to that.
 

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^^
Couldn't agree more.
Its not so much the road that will harm things as the 3-4 million people living in poverty with un-environmentally friendly practices that are stripping the topsoil, and using every stick of wood for heating and cooking.
Decades of governmental blindness to the plight of Transkeians has lead to an bleak picture for the ecology there.

This road is at least a way of entering the area, and ideally bringing more prosperity through onward investment, employment, and wealth creation through tourism industry.
Once that happened, there will be more presence of mind to retain what is left of the forests in the river valleys.

It will also be a good thing for Port St Johns, which I see will flourish.
 

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N2 Wild Coast project to start in the next six months - Sanral
Mar 08 2017 11:01
Roslyn Baatjies, Netwerk 24

Cape Town - The South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) has welcomed Eastern Cape Premier Phumulo Masualle's support for the N2 Wild Coast project.

“Sanral welcomes the province’s support for the project, which also has overwhelming support from local communities. The fact that it was mentioned during the State of the Province Address indicates that it is considered strategic to the province’s development agenda,” said Sanral spokesperson Vusi Mona.

Work is expected to start within the next six months and the project should be completed by 2021.

Monsa said upgrading the Wild Coast road would help unlock the Eastern Cape’s economic potential and contribute substantially to job-creating sectors such as eco-tourism, agriculture and manufacturing. The upgrading of the 410km stretch will cut the travelling time between East London and Durban by up to three hours.

...Poor communities along the Pondoland coast will benefit from better access to towns, shorter travel times and lower travel costs. In a survey by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in 2015, 99% of the residents supported the project.

Mona said a comprehensive impact study had been done and conservation experts have been assigned to protect the biological diversity and natural heritage of the Wild Coast.

Two bridges on the route, those over the Msikaba River and the Mtentu River just outside Xolobeni, will be among the biggest in Africa.

The project will create 6 800 direct and about 28 000 indirect job opportunities during the construction phase, Mona said.

http://www.fin24.com/Economy/n2-wild-coast-project-to-start-in-the-next-six-months-sanral-20170308
 

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R1.634-billion Mtentu Bridge tender awarded
Construction of the first of two N2 Wild Coast mega bridges should start early in November.


An architectural impression of the Mtentu Bridge.


THE R1.634-billion tender for the Mtentu Bridge, one of two mega bridges to be built as part of the South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) N2 Wild Coast road project, has been awarded.

However, the second mega bridge, spanning the Msikaba River, is to be retendered.

About 80 percent of this new 560km route between Durban and East London will follow the existing R61. The two bridges will be part of approximately 90km of the new route, the so-called ‘greenfields’ sections.

According to Sanral communications manager, Vusi Mona, the Mtentu Bridge tender had been awarded to the Aveng Strabag Joint Venture (JV). The JV partners were Aveng Grinaker-LTA, a major South African-based construction company, and Strabag, a leading construction company in Europe with extensive experience in major balanced cantilever methodology bridge construction. Building was set to start early in November and was scheduled to take about 40 months, he said.

The Mtentu Bridge will be a multi-spanned concrete structure approximately 1 130m long. It will comprise a 260m main span and two 150m secondary spans constructed as a balanced cantilever on the two main piers that will be approximately 160m high.

A further total of 570m of approach viaducts will be constructed on either side of the central three spans using incremental launching methods. It will be higher than the Bloukrantz Bridge, making it the highest bridge in Africa and the southern hemisphere once complete.

The second bridge will consist of a cable-stayed 580m-long structure spanning the deep Msikaba Gorge.

At 590m, its main span will be the longest main span in Africa and the southern hemisphere, although there are some southern hemisphere and African bridges that have longer total spans.

However, Mr Mona said there had been been no fully responsive tenders for this bridge.

...The proposal to build the N2 Wild Coast toll road was first put forward more than 12 years ago and has been dogged by controversy. Local communities have expressed many social concerns and there have been objections from the green lobby as the greenfields sections, including the bridges, will be constructed through an extremely environmentally sensitive area. However, Sanral has always contended that the road would bring much-needed development to an impoverished area.

...Discussing the Mtentu Bridge, he said the construction of the 1.1km long bridge in a remote location was a major undertaking that required specialised engineering skills and building techniques.

The bridge formed the backbone of the greenfields portion of the N2 Wild Coast road project, he said. He described the project as a national priority under coordination and direction of the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission (PICC). It was one of Government’s 18 Strategic Integrated Projects to support economic development and address service delivery in the poorest provinces.

...“By improving the travel time between Durban and East London by up to three hours for heavy freight and by providing a high mobility route through an area that is extremely isolated and under-served by road infrastructure, the route will have significant social and economic benefits and will act as a catalyst for local and regional development,” he said.

The project would be a major job creator in an area with an extremely high unemployment rate.

Sanral’s direct job creation forecast was 1.8-million man-days or 8 000 full time equivalent jobs over the construction period of four to five years.

More than R400 million would be allocated to wages for unskilled, semi-skilled and skilled workers employed directly on the entire N2 Wild Coast road project, he said. A further R1.5 billion was destined for local small, medium and micro enterprises comprising local contractors and local suppliers of goods and services to the road and bridge construction projects.

http://southcoastherald.co.za/232847/mtentu-bridge-tender-awarded/
 

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Lone ranger can fight the state to scrap Wild Coast toll road

Pretoria - The leader of the Baleni community in Pondoland took on the lone battle to fight the multi- billion-rand controversial N2 Wild Coast toll road, which is supposed to connect the major cities in the Eastern Cape.

Sinegugu Zukulu is adamant he will not be bulldozed by the government, the South African National Roads Agency Limited or the N2 Wild Coast Consortium in giving in to the toll road. which is due to run partially through his ancestral land. Zukulu and his community were from the start opposed to the 560km toll road extending from the N2 Gonubie interchange near East London to the N2 Isipingo interchange, south of Durban.

They steadfastly refused to give up the land, which they have been living on for generations. The community felt that while they needed improved local roads, they did not need a sleek highway, which they feared was being built for ulterior purposes. They feared that the toll road was planned to assist proposed mining in the region, against which they were also vigorously opposed.

The battle for the ancestral land eventually led to divisions within the community, who had mostly meanwhile abandoned their legal fight - all but Zukulu. In a first round victory for him, the high court in Pretoria gave him the go-ahead to fight his legal battle further. Zukulu’s aim is to take on the giants and ultimately to have the toll road project set aside by the court.
More at: https://www.iol.co.za/news/south-africa/eastern-cape/lone-ranger-can-fight-the-state-to-scrap-wild-coast-toll-road-11667640
 

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I believe it is. hard to get anything at all on it, but my spidey-senses say yes.
The contractor for the bridges was assigned last year already. Could be a rad opportunity to unlock the best part of SA's coast, and create jobs and access. @_
 

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late May update

Wild Coast Road: communities have been consulted

Status of the project
The budget for the 112km “greenfields” section is approximately R9 billion. This includes the two mega bridges (Msikaba and Mtentu), seven other river bridges and a number of interchanges, intersections, underpasses, overpasses and local access roads. A minimum of 30% of this budget will be channelled to SMME suppliers and contractors.

Various sections of the brownfields section of the N2WCR along the N2 and R61 are already complete or under construction, however the future bypasses for Butterworth and Idutywa as well as the southern bypass for Mthatha are still in the planning phase.

While not technically forming part of the N2WCR the associated upgrading of the R61 from Port Edward to Port Shepstone for the future N2 South Coast highway extension is currently in the design phase.

On the greenfields section the four haul road contracts are all close to completion and the Mtentu Bridge contractor is busy with site establishment. Three community development projects for the training and development of local SMMEs are underway and another two community development (CD) projects are to start soon. The tender for the Msikaba bridge is currently in adjudication and construction on this second mega bridge is expected to start early in 2019. Various additional road and bridge construction packages will be tendered during 2019 and 2020.

The greenfields section of the road that will allow the N2WCR to be opened to traffic is expected to be complete by 2023 while all the improvements including all planned bypasses are only likely to be complete by 2028.



Road works between Lusikisiki and Mthatha for the R9-billion N2 Wild Coast Road from East London to Port Edward.
 

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^^
Thank you Laden.
The mtentu bridge looks epic. possibility of a Wild Coast bungee for tourism, as well as nature reserve/trails downstream to waterfalls and unspoiled beaches. Will make a great stopping point for intrepid adventurers!
 

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Africa’s second longest main span bridge is to be built in the Eastern Cape – this is what it will look like
James de Villiers , Business Insider SA
Sep 21, 2018, 06:13 AM


Artist render of the bridge over the Msikaba gorge, Eastern Cape (supplied)


The second longest main span bridge in Africa will be built near Lusikisiki, Eastern Cape, Sanral said.

The bridge will be 580m long, and cost an estimated R1.65 billion to build.

It will be the third highest bridge in Africa, at 195m above ground level.


The second longest main span bridge in Africa will be built near Lusikisiki, Eastern Cape, over the Msikaba gorge as part of the N2 Wild Coast project, the South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) said on Thursday.

At 580m, the bridge will be the longest main span bridge constructed by cable-stay method in Africa, but 100m shorter than the Maputo-Catembe suspension bridge in Mozambique.


Construction of the Maputo-Catembe suspension bridge in Mozambique (YouTube)


It will also be the third highest bridge in Africa at 195m above the valley floor. The Bloukrans bridge is first at 216m, and the Mtentu bridge second at 223m.

...Construction is due to start on February 2019 at an estimated cost of R1.65 billion, Sanral said in a statement.

It is expected to be completed in 2021.

...The bridge will use an estimated 2,700 tons of structural steel and 2,500 tons of cables.

https://www.businessinsider.co.za/second-longest-bridge-in-africa-msikaba-gorge-r165bn-2018-9
 

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https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/companies/industrials/2019-02-04-aveng-strabag-joint-venture-terminates-mtentu-bridge-contract/


Aveng Strabag joint venture terminates Mtentu bridge contract

Safety fears after violent protests in Eastern Cape prompt cancellation
Construction company Aveng said on Monday the Aveng Strabag joint venture (ASJV) has terminated its contract with the SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) to build the R1.65bn Mtentu bridge in the Eastern Cape.

The decision follows violent protest action against the project, which entails building the 1.1km-long bridge across the Mtentu River on the N2 Wild Coast. With the nearby Msikaba Bridge, the Mtentu Bridge is part of an improvement to make the N2 Wild Coast toll road shorter and faster.

Aveng, which is in a joint venture with Europe-based Strabag International, said the contractors have not been on site since October 22 “due to threats of violence and levels of community unrest and protest action related to demands made against Sanral”.

Aveng said the construction companies disagree with Sanral’s assertion that it is safe to continue with the construction. “The [joint venture] does not agree with Sanral’s view and related events do not support Sanral’s view. The ability to execute works safety and in accordance with international best practice is [the joint venture’s] primary concern,” Aveng said.

Aveng said Sanral was informed of the decision to terminate the contract on Wednesday last week.

Strabag spokesperson Diana Neumüller-Klein said the nature of the threats, unrest and protest action at the project is unprecedented.

“The construction of the Mtentu Bridge is technically demanding and requires compliance with the most stringent international engineering and safety standards, with zero margin for the disruption of the nature experienced,” Neumüller-Klein said.

Based on their combined experience and track record in complex bridge projects, Aveng and Strabag have concluded that the joint venture cannot continue with its work “and simply cannot and is not disposed to risk the safety and wellbeing of its personnel and indeed the members of the community themselves and has therefore elected to terminate the Mtentu contract”, she said.

Neumüller-Klein said the termination will take effect on Wednesday.

“The ASJV has invited Sanral to work collaboratively with the ASJV with a view to finding pragmatic outcomes to the unwinding of the Mtentu contract,” Neumüller-Klein said.

Sanral did not respond to request for comment.

Aveng shares were unchanged at 5c on Monday
 
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