At present, 93% of bridges are in good condition – a very high percentage considering that SANRAL has increasingly taken over the management of older provincial roads where safety standards were lower.
The national road network, including its bridges and culverts, is in excellent condition because of routine road maintenance.
The almost 9 900 major bridges and culverts on the SANRAL road network undergo major safety inspections every five to six years.
This is done by the Committee of Transport Officials, a team of inspectors with advanced experience in engineering, construction and safety standards.
The majority of bridges – including the 927 managed by SANRAL’s concessionaires – has been inspected since 2015. Where roads are upgraded or new bridges and culverts constructed, inspectors again ensure that standards are met.
At present, 93% of bridges are in good condition, a very high percentage considering that SANRAL has increasingly taken over the management of older provincial roads, where safety standards were lower.
When older roads are taken over, SANRAL immediately starts with comprehensive maintenance and rehabilitation programmes to ensure the roads also comply with its high safety requirements.
Strict rules for building bridges
SANRAL applies strict conditions to the construction of bridges across its roads.
Before the construction of a bridge, a consulting engineering firm with an experienced bridge engineer is appointed during the design phase.
The consulting firm undertakes internal reviews of bridge designs, while on medium- to large-span bridges a tender is put out by SANRAL for a peer review of the design.
The reviewing firm will also have experienced bridge engineers, who will undertake the review of the bridge design and any construction issues.
In addition, SANRAL has its own code of practice for the design of highways, bridges and culverts.
Emphasis is placed on the safe load capacity of the bridge. All bridges are built according to the Committee of Land Transportation Officials’ standard specifications for road and bridge works.
A tender is also put out for an independent site laboratory, which will test construction materials.
In addition, SANRAL appoints a consulting firm to undertake construction supervision. The agency also interacts with all involved in design and construction of a bridge throughout the process.