Developments in Uniondale
Andre's many accomplishments at Vela VKE Engineers in Mosselbay have certainly been remarkable and he has greeted each new challenge with never-ending enthusiasm. One of these accomplishments includes the upgrade of various main roads in the rural town of Uniondale, a project that Andre recalls helped improve the living conditions of many.
"I enjoyed working on this assignment because it helped to transform Uniondale in a big way and today the town is completely different to the way it was a few months ago. The project was identified by Eden District Municipality and involved uplifting the low-income area of Lyonville. This entailed the upgrade of Berkley Street as well as a section of Long Street," explains Andre, proudly displaying the impressive array of project designs.
"We upgraded the road from a gravel surface to a cement block-paving road in order to improve the access to and from the Lyonville residential area in Uniondale. But the most interesting part of this project remains the labour intensive construction methods. With these methods we managed to secure jobs for about 44 local residents who have also been empowered with a skill that will equip them to become pavers and kerb layers."
According to Andre, the varied scope of the assignment was challenging to say the least. "The project required 6600mē of paved road and 1,9km of kerbing. In addition, the construction required approximately 333 000 of concrete paving blocks and approximately 100 metres of storm water pipes. As the senior technician on this multi-disciplinary project, one of the challenges was to conform to strict requirements while still having to complete the project within tight deadlines."
"The project required the excavation of road material, the compaction of the insitu layer, the construction of the new road base layer and the construction of sidewalks. In addition to this, we established a dust free road surface by means of concrete paving and provided for the building of culverts, storm water inlets and head walls.
The great thing about projects of this nature is that you can rely on a program like Civil Designer to help you out. It has everything that you need in one package and best of all, after only one training session I was able to complete this high level project within the required deadline," says Andre smiling.
When asked what the highlight of the project was, the reply is instant. "It would definitely be the job creation initiative which worked extremely well. Many workers received a certificate of competency based on their level of expertise on the project. The workers were managed by skilled professionals in designated clusters and many of them were able to source employment because the venture had resulted in a skills transfer."
"Workers were selected from the community based on a list of criteria and it was the responsibility of the area ward councillors to maintain the database of unemployed workers from previously disadvantaged backgrounds. These people were then chosen to work on a two weekly rotational basis. We found that the community was particularly supportive during this phase because they understood that the road upgrade would lead to job creation and improve the living conditions of residents," explains Andre.
Andre has worked on many wonderful projects over the last eight years and his enthusiasm and passion remains unwavering. "What I like most about my job, is being able to give something back to the community and seeing development and progress boom around me. It is what keeps me going and drives me to tackle challenge after challenge," he says, the characteristic grin on his face a clear indication of his positive outlook in life.