The rehabilitation and upgrading of the road between Warden and Standerton is one of the major projects of the Department of Police, Roads and Transport in the Free State. The road is an important road in the Eastern Free State as it links the province with Gauteng, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal.
The estimated total value of the project is R258 million. Construction of the road commenced during July 2010 and the expected date for completion of the project is 31 May 2013 and the contractor is Edwin Construction (Pty) Ltd.
Primarily Provincial roads P16/1 and P18/11 comprise the main east/west route for commerce and agriculture in central South Africa. The reconstruction of the 18 km road includes extensive road widening, extended climbing lanes, four bridge structures and upgrading of four major intersections. The project also includes the rehabilitation of 54 km of the R103 between Warden and Villiers, the alternative route to the N3 toll road.
At this stage, the road is approximately 88% complete. R246 million has been paid by the Department to Contractors and local labour. The project includes innovative planning actions, such as the formation of a major cutting near Vrede which improves the roads vertical alignment, with the establishment of a crusher plant to produce G1 base course material from the raw material removed from this cutting.
Various internal streets in the town of Vrede are currently being used as by-passes for traffic. This allows construction work to continue over the full width for long sections, rather than managing temporary one-way traffic through stop and go's.
Presently more than 490 people from the local community have been employed on the project to do jobs varying from general labourers, flagmen to operators of various construction equipment. All these people have received accredited training in road safety, road construction and maintenance activities. About 25% of the people employed on the project are female and 80% are younger than 35 years.
One of the stipulations of the project is that 10% of the construction value be awarded to local emerging sub-contractors and this has been achieved as 25 local emerging sub-contractors have been appointed to complete various activities such as fencing, small concrete work and security services.
Completion of this important Free State road project will benefit inter-provincial traffic, and have long-term benefits for the local community.
Issued by: Free State Police, Roads and Transport