Cable car in use at N2WCR project
Eastern Cape, 11 August 2021: The temporary cable car installed at the Msikaba bridge site on the N2 Wild Coast Road (N2WCR) project is now fully operational.
The cable car drastically reduces the travelling time between the South and North sites of the Msikaba. The distance between the north and south banks of the Msikaba Bridge site is approximately 600m but is currently only accessible via an almost three-hour drive by road over 96km. The cable car will enable site staff to cross the gorge in an estimated three to four minutes.
“Staff previously used a helicopter to travel from one side to the other a few days a week or driving. The cable car is available 24 hours a day, in most weather conditions that would prevent helicopter flights, and can carry more staff per trip, as opposed to only three in a helicopter. It is also considerably cheaper to operate than a helicopter,” said Craig McLachlan.
The cable car can accommodate up to six people or 500kg in weight, transport site staff and occasionally small quantities of material such as laboratory samples from the south to the north bank and vice versa.
The South African National Roads Agency SOC Limited (SANRAL), as the custodian of the N2WCR Project, is making steady progress in developing the R1.65 billion project, which will serve as a crucial economic artery in the region.
The Msikaba Bridge is currently under construction. With a 580m span and 195m height, the cable-stay bridge’s anticipated completion date is the end of 2023.
The N2WCR Project entails upgrading the 410km road, which stretches from East London to the Mtamvuna River, on the boundary between the Eastern Cape and the KwaZulu-Natal provinces. The project is located on the N2, which connects four provinces, i.e. the Western Cape, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga, and traverses the cities and major towns of Cape Town, George, Port Elizabeth, East London, Mthatha, Durban and Ermelo. This includes a brand-new greenfield section of 112km between Port St Johns and Port Edward.
Once complete, the route will be approximately 69km and 85km shorter than the current N2 and R61 routes respectively, and, due to its shorter and flatter alignment, between 1½ to 3 hours faster for light and heavy freight vehicles respectively. This new route will significantly reduce vehicle carbon emissions and will result in a time-cost saving to motorists and freight operators of approximately R1.5 billion per annum.
The greenfield project consists of two mega bridges, the Mtentu Bridge and the Msikaba Bridge projects, and seven other major road works projects, including several major bridges and interchange structures.
The tender for the Mtentu Bridge project has closed, and it is currently in adjudication. A contractor is expected to be appointed by September 2021. Provided that there are no significant delays on the Mtentu Bridge project, the construction period is estimated to be 49 months, including a four-month mobilisation period.