New contractor sought for N2 upgrade

SANRAL halts realignment due to contractor failing to meet standards of contract.

In order for SANRAL to ensure that a reliable and resilient road has been constructed, quality control is of utmost importance.

The realignment of the N2 at the Umhlali and Umvoti River Bridges has been delayed because the contractor had failed to source materials as specified in the contract.

South African National Roads Agency (SOC) Limited (SANRAL) said the safety of road users is paramount and will not be compromised through the use of sub-standard material or the poor performance of service providers.

The final decision to terminate the contract was because the contractor filed for business rescue, which ended up with the firm being sequestrated.

For several months angry motorists have vented their frustration in the media at the delay in the completion of the upgrading of the N2 at the northern ends of the Umhlali and Umvoti River Bridges, where sharp curves were to be flattened to reduce the number of crashes.

Ridhwaan Mahomed, SANRAL Eastern Region project manager, said the agency’s primary purpose is to provide a safe and efficient national road network for the benefit of all.

“In order for us to ensure that a reliable and resilient road has been constructed, quality control is of utmost importance. SANRAL has to ensure that all construction activities follow the specifications as set out in the contract to ensure that construction is undertaken to the highest standards,” said Mahomed.

“The contract documents also specify, amongst others, the minimum test results required to be achieved from various quality tests undertaken by an accredited laboratory.”

Mahomed said the constructed pavement layer, using material from local suppliers on the N2 project, did not meet the required specifications.

“There are three probable reasons why the pavement layer failed. Firstly, the supplier may have supplied incorrect material; secondly, the contractor could have contaminated the material while processing and placing it on site; and thirdly, the material could have broken down during compaction of the layer.”

New tender process for entire contract

He said SANRAL had attempted to assist the contractor with a revised pavement design to limit the contractor’s additional cost for removing and replacing the material.

However, SANRAL was made aware towards the latter part of 2017 that the contractor was placed under business rescue.

The original appointment value of the contract was R57.4-million. SANRAL only pays service providers for acceptable completed work. The contractor had only completed 27% of the original contracted work and was only paid for that amount of work.

Mahomed said when the contractor subsequently faced liquidation, a termination letter was sent.

“We are currently busy with a new tender process. The feedback from the National Treasury is that we have to re-tender and cannot appoint the tenderer with the second-highest points, which was SANRAL’s initial recommendation as an attempt to expedite the process.

“We have to re-tender the entire contract and hopefully we will have a new contractor on site by September. Meanwhile we humbly request all motorists to bear with us as we are trying our utmost best to resolve the situation.”