CoreCivils helps bridge growing road maintenance backlog

Helping innovate to improve service delivery in outlying areas of South Africa
September 17, 2018
Precast concrete industry at the forefront of SCMs
November 12, 2018

CoreSlab directors, Jaco de Bruin and Tiaan de Jager, have launched CoreCivils, a company that specialises in the design, manufacture and installation of a wide range of precast-concrete bridge beams.

The new company is manufacturing its high quality T, Y, I and M-type bridge beams, in addition to barriers and parapets, at its state-of-the-art factory in Randfontein, Gauteng.

Jaco de Bruin, managing director of CoreCivils, says that the factory is almost an exact blueprint of CoreSlab’s sophisticated Polokwane operation, which is known for the very high quality of its precast-concrete systems, including a comprehensive range of bridge beams and related structural elements.

“It also features cutting-edge manufacturing technologies and we have our own maintenance team to mitigate downtime. To ensure the same consistently high quality levels achieved at our operation in Polokwane, CoreCivils will also conduct its own daily tests and send cubes for further inspection to independent laboratories,” De Bruin says.

The launch of the new company comes at a time when transport infrastructure has been placed high on both policymakers’ and decision makers’ agendas as part of state’s economic stimulus plan.

Administered by a dedicated team in the presidency, this programme will be funded via a newly-announced R400-billion infrastructure fund over the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework.

Meanwhile, the South African National Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL) has resumed the awarding of contracts and has committed to accelerating the rollout of projects, including strategic upgrades that also involve widening structures and lengthening culverts.

Transport Minister, Blade Nzimande, also brought the existing state of provincial road networks under the spotlight.

The state of these roads is such that it is unlikely to be addressed through national transfers and subsidies, especially given the National Treasury’s commitment to fiscal consolidation.

He, therefore, suggested higher allocations from the provincial treasuries and/or from savings and efficiencies in respective provincial departmental expenditure as a solution.

CoreCivils’ precast-concrete factory is strategically located to service many of these anticipated road projects and bolsters the existing reach of CoreSlab’s Polokwane operation.

The latter has been involved in numerous related projects, including the construction of the Majosi River Bridge, Mashamba Bridge and N1 Ventersburg Bridge.

CoreSlab has been refining this capability since 2010 when it had the opportunity to work on the construction of the Lawton Bridge, a R24,25-million road-over-rail structure.

However, its involvement in building two bridge structures on roads D3212 and D3213 at Ga-Ntata on behalf of the Roads Agency of Limpopo, while working alongside Axton Matrix, the main contractor, and Nyeleti Consulting, the consulting engineer, still stands out as a major milestone for the company.

This is considering that it had the ideal opportunity to demonstrate the full extent of its skills and capabilities in bridge construction, starting with advising the professional team on the most optimal and cost-efficient means of using precast concrete technologies.

For example, the consulting engineer accepted CoreSlab’s proposal to use I 8 precast beams as a more cost-effective solution, as well as its side closure to provide a more aesthetically appealing end product, while also allowing for ease of installation.

Supplying the 80 pre-cast concrete bridge beams to this extremely congested site in an outlying area required innovative thinking.

The company’s specially-designed dolly-bogie system with a side loader was used to transport the elements to the construction site and, in so doing, replaced a second crane to offload and place each item at the laydown stations.

Meanwhile, CoreCivils will also harness the skills and capabilities of CoreSlab’s installation teams, which comprise seasoned project managers and foremen, as well as riggers and crane operators.

De Bruin says that he is encouraged by government’s renewed focus on infrastructure, also noting the findings of the World Bank’s latest Logistics Performance Index (LPI), which ranked South Africa as the 33rd most competitive market, in terms of logistics performance among upper-middle-income economies

One of the core measurements used by the World Bank to measure the quality of a country’s logistics performance is trade and logistics infrastructure, and South Africa’s ranking in this regard climbed from 38th position in 2014 to 36 in this year’s LPI.

This on the back of the findings of the 2017-2018 World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index, which reported that the country had improved with three positions at 61 out of 137 countries, compared to 64 in the 2016-2017 index.

“Roads remain the ‘lifeblood’ of our economy, considering that more than 80% the country’s freight is moved via this overland mode of transport. If we intend retaining our competitive edge at a global scale, we will need to continue investing in these assets,” the managing director of CoreCivils concludes.

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