Civil Designer Showcase

Large Scale Development In The Free State

The Harrismith office is bustling with activity as the Phuthaditjhaba and Qwa Qwa areas are placed in the spotlight for development projects. The design and implementation of the venture was re-quested by the Maluti-a-Phofung Municipality in the beginning of 2003 and Ninham Shand Consulting Engineers immediately rose to the challenge.

According to Rudi Beeslaar from Ninham Shand, the project entailed the construction of a number of gravel distributor roads in Phuthaditjhaba and Qwa Qwa, as well as the stormwater management in these areas. "The road that we constructed in the Qwa Qwa area is 10,3 km in length, of which 9700 meters include stormwater channels with road crossings," explains Rudi. "The Phuthaditjaba area was equally challenging, as we constructed a 12,2 km road and the length of stormwater channels with road crossings was 9500 meters in total. Approximately 100 meters of storm-water pipes with manholes and outlet structures were installed," says Rudi, illustrating the scope of the project.

Phuthaditjaba is located in the north eastern Free State Province and is bounded by Kwa-Zulu Natal to the southeast and Lesothu to the southwest. It has a total estimated population of 450 000 individuals.

According to Rudi, the existing roads in the area contrast between two extremes. "The topography of the region ranges from steep mountainous slopes with numerous valleys in the south, to rolling hills in the north. I find that the existing network of roads vary from tarred roads, to two wheel tracks," says Rudi.

Road alignments are largely regulated by the existing landscape. "The horizontal alignment of the roads is governed by the town-planning layout of the area, while the vertical alignment was designed to follow the topographical features with some adjustments in order to control the storm water run-off," explains Rudi, adding that they lay concrete stormwater pipes with manholes and outlet structures where necessary.

Landscape problems also hampered the development of the Qwa Qwa road, as the houses are built with no formal structure. "This presented a great challenge for the design of the road because it had to be woven in-between existing homes and we often had to work with steep gradients," says Rudi.

The Qwa Qwa ward councils specify firm guidelines in maintaining standards and act as a medium between the community and the developer during the projectís completion. "We found it extremely challenging to work within the area limitations while still having to uphold the strict standards as specified by the ward authorities."

"Our design was completed in accordance with the design criteria as set out by the Maluti-a-Phofung Municipality and in accordance with the Guidelines for the Provision of Engineering Services and Amenities in residential township development manual".

The response from local residents was very encouraging. "Community reaction on the project was positive because the undeveloped area was previously inaccessible, making transportation impossible. With the new road, everyone's lifestyle will improve because people will have the benefit of using taxis, buses and vehicles for transportation to various destinations," explains Rudi.
Phuthaditjhaba & Qwa Qwa Development | Ninham Shand

Currently there is a tendency to break away from gravel roads because of the shortage of good gravel in the Qwa Qwa area. This scarcity has prompted the use of brick paving as an alternative road surface.

The team at Ninham Shand has supported the government's job creation initiative by ensuring that tasks are as labour intensive as possible. "Layer works is still being completed by machines, but the rest of the activities are done by means of manual labour. The Qwa Qwa region is divided into various wards and we ensure that we use local workers within each ward so that the community can obtain maximum benefit from the project," says Rudi.

"In addition to this, we try and source material locally and will probably receive the paving material from Lancaster, a factory in Qwa Qwa that is responsible for the manufacture of bricks. Storm water pipes will also be sourced locally."

The project has been divided into two phases, with phase one receiving a budget of R1,2 million for the creation of 470m of paved road with stormwater drainage. Phase two will commence shortly and is expected to receive a budget of R5 million for the completion of the remaining 1,6km stretch that will include paving as well as storm water systems.

Rudi explains the design process: "We used Civil Designer to design the horizontal and vertical alignments and found the program especially useful in calculating the cut and fill volumes in the development of the road. "Once we have completed all the earthwork on the program, we transfer the information into AllyCAD so that we can add the finishing touches to the drawings. We use combination sheet files to create production drawings for the contractor."

When it comes to Civil Designer, Rudi is the resident expert on the software and assists his colleagues with various tasks. "I love to help where I can and it gives me great pleasure to share my knowledge. I have worked with the software since the days of Stardust and the program has just grown from strength to strength," says Rudi with a smile.

image Rudi Beeslaar has been working for Ninham Shand for the past 8 years and has recently relocated to Bloemfontein where he hopes to settle down. He joined Ninham Shand in 1996 and has a high regard for the corporation and its people. "The company is heavily involved with urban development and handles everything from roads to storm water expansion," says Rudi.

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