Construction on the first phase of the upgrade of the N2 between Grahamstown and Fish River Pass has begun. The South African National Roads Agency SOC Limited (SANRAL), awarded the contract to WBHO Construction and Bosch Stemele, as a joint venture partner, is providing consulting engineering services.
This first phase of the three phase project, valued at approximately R310m began in April 2015. This phase comprises the upgrading of 16km of narrow single carriageway, including construction of deviations. Material sufficient for construction of phases 2 and 3 is being sourced from a large cutting along the route.
Initial construction activities have been hampered by unusually high rainfall for this part of the Eastern Cape. In addition, the narrow roadway traverses mountainous terrain and regular morning and evening mist add to the challenges on site. Despite the weather, the contract has progressed well with the earthworks and establishment of the main hard rock source is well under way. Phase 1 is due for completion in July 2017. The construction of a 2km long bypass at the Fish River Pass has been included in this first phase. The bypass will serve as a deviation when upgrading the pass in phase 2. This work has been set aside for labour intensive construction methods, with appropriate training programmes, and the local villages around Peddie will certainly benefit from this initiative.
Ongoing discussion between SANRAL representatives, the contractor, site staff and the community, ensure that the contract remains on programme and any challenges are overcome timeously.