Civil Designer Showcase

Civil Designer Reaches New Heights In Lesotho Mountains

"I don't think there are too many people who have designed such a complex road in such a short time", says Donovan Hugo of Hawkins Hawkins Osborn in Cape Town.

The road in question is a 54.4km road with 312 horizontal curves and more than 200 vertical curves. The road joins two villages in the southwestern corner of Lesotho. The existing road is very narrow with many sharp curves and steep gradients. The new road is to be a Class B standard with a gravel wearing course on a subbase layer.

"This road posed a myriad of challenges for us. For both environmental and geotechnical reasons, cut and fill were to be minimized. The existing road has to be used during construction as we cannot create any temporary detours, and all along the route there are villages, houses and even cemeteries", says Donovan.

The road was commissioned by the Lesotho Government as part of its 5-year Road Rehabilitation and Maintenance Project and financed by the International Development Association of the World Bank, the European Union and other donors. This program is one of the key aspects of a strategy to alleviate poverty in the region by developing and maintaining infrastructure

"I spoke to Vincent Bester at Knowledge Base and we decided to give Civil Designer 6.2 Beta version a shot at getting the job done. The new version automatically designed the Super Elevation for all the 312 horizontal curves. I was able to complete this job in approximately three months on my own, with some assistance on the geotechnical and hydrology side", says Donovan.

"What makes this achievement even more remarkable is that Dawid du Toit of Knowledge Base customised the program for me as we went along", says Donovan. "Having this kind of support is absolutely amazing, it is unheard of in the industry".
  "I had to keep in mind that the road is going to be constructed using local labour a case of a high-tech design for a low-tech construction. There are approximately 150 watercourse or drainage line crossings along the route.

There are 7000m2 of Reinforced Earth type retaining structures and, in some cases, up to 17m fill embankments. The bridges are to be constructed using Armco type culverts, as you can't easily get reinforced concrete to the sites", says Donovan.

"We were able to put the terrain drawing in the background which helped a lot when we encountered houses or cemeteries. Due to these constraints, as well as the very steep mountain slopes, many shifts in alignment had to be checked it was so sensitive - and the program did the rest", says Donovan. "Using Civil Designer saved me at least a couple of months in iterations, in fact I wouldn't have been able to finish on time without the software".

"This road will mean a lot to the people of the area when it is complete. It will not only cut the travel time by more than half it currently takes more than two hours to travel the 50kms it will open up all sorts of opportunities for tourism and trade", says Donovan.

"The existing road is a narrow 3 - 4m track running up and down the mountains, around incredibly tight corners in some the radius is just 15m, and now they will have a road that is more than double the width and vastly improved alignments".

"This is a great engineering project to have been involved in, and having superb software and a direct line into the developer made for great teamwork. Civil Designer certainly helped me in this project", says a proud Donovan.

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