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Designs that Empower African Communities

Publication: IMIESA
Issue: April 2017

For many communities in Africa, especially in rural regions, the construction of a world-class asphalt pavement in their region is an event to celebrate. Villages, cut off for years from the main economy, are connected for the first time, whether by car, bus, or bicycle. And for those experiencing it for the first time, they watch the passing traffic with absolute fascination: they’re drawn in and excited by new opportunities.

“In South Africa, as in any other country where we operate, we want to help these communities to come on board, wherever practical, from the inception of these projects,” says Hunt. “Locally, the current procurement legislation
helps significantly to promote this in terms of targeted enterprises, enabling us to transfer much-needed skills to job seekers, alongside the mentorship of SMME engineering consultants and contractors.”

As a professional design house, construction and project management implementer, Knight Piésold works with its clients to create development paths for emerging entities. For example, SMME sub-consultants frequently work in-house alongside Knight Piésold professionals and obtain invaluable experience. In turn, each project, with client consultation, is broken down into purpose-designed work packages so that contractors rated by the Construction Industry Development Board can participate and develop in their respective levels of experience.

“All these objectives can only be achieved by upskilling our own personnel, which is an ongoing priority, especially in terms of previously disadvantaged groups and women. It’s not a new initiative. As a wholly owned South African company, we’ve focused on these and other areas from inception, and that’s a significant statement considering that we celebrate 96 years of operation in May 2017. That’s what makes us an innovative leader.”

Services included in the transportation field include environmental compliance, land acquisitions, geotechnical investigations, traffic studies, structures and pavements. This includes analysing and recommending specific asphalt mix designs.

Gauteng Developments: Nanotechnology First
Within the Gauteng region, Knight Piésold is currently working on a series of projects, some purely provincial, while others include South African National Roads Agency (SANRAL) developments that traverse through the province.

A major one is the K46 upgrade – a 7 km section extending from the Dainfern residential and commercial node to Diepsloot – which caters for future expansion. With an estimated construction value of around R550 million, this is a strategic infrastructure project commissioned by the Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport. The project is scheduled for completion early in 2018.

From the original single section, three lanes in either direction are being constructed, which includes dedicated zones for non-motorised transport (i.e. bicycles), as well as bus and taxi stops. This comprises Phase 2. Phase 1, completed some years ago, runs from the N1 highway to the starting point of Dainfern.

“What’s particularly interesting about this project is the application of nanotechnology: more specially, a Nano-Modified Emulsion stabilisation agent is being successfully constructed for the first time on a Gauteng roads project,” Hunt explains. “The application of this technology results drastically reduces the susceptibility of the pavement layer materials to water. The result is that the process has the effect of extending the pavement design life for the same comparable expenditure used by adopting more conventional black-top applications.” This nanotechnology has been tested and proven not only locally, but on other projects worldwide.

Another landmark project included on the above route is the construction of the Rose Road interchange, which provides access to the mixed-use Steyn City development and is being co-funded by the developer.

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