Civil Designer Showcase

The Land Of Engineering Opportunities

What started out as a career move for Victor Rieger six years ago with his relocation to Windhoek has turned out to be one of the best decisions ever made. Today, Victor is a proud resident of Namibia and has found the adjustment from Johannesburg to be surprisingly easy. "When it comes to large-scale contracts, Namibia is regarded as the land of engineering opportunities. I consider myself to be very fortunate to be working for Windhoek Consulting Engineer's Transport division. Work opportunities here are in abundance," notes Victor, clearly impressed with developments in his department.

MR 67 between Kamanjap & Omakange
"We are currently working on a very interesting road upgrade of Main Road 67 between Kamanjap and Omakange in the north of Namibia. The project was requested by the Roads Authority of Namibia and consists of 204km of gravel road that will be upgraded to a bitumen surface standard."

"The survey was conducted by Henry Graham surveyors in Cape Town and entailed a study of the entire servitude complete with drainage structures. We also performed a hydraulic investigation of all the bridges and storm water structures to determine if any structure needed to be adjusted. We used the information to determine the horizontal and vertical alignment," explains Victor, adding that their primary focus during the project was to ensure a cost effective design by optimising the alignment to tie in with the existing drainage structures along the road.

Although the team enjoyed the project tremendously, there were many design challenges. "The road was originally designed with an 80km/h design speed. This meant that there were a number of cuts and fills that had to be re-designed in order to accommodate the increased design speed. In addition, approximately 80km of the road borders the Etosha National Park, making it a tourist attraction with farms and lodges along the route."

"In one particular stretch of approximately 5km, the steep grades and sharp turns were so severe that the design speed had to be reduced to 100km/h. We decided to reduce the design speed due to the environmental restrictions, as we did not wish to change the horizontal alignment of the road," says Victor. The road design has currently been completed and the construction, estimated at N$300 million, has been divided into two sections with the first section commencing in July 2005.

Victor attributes the success of all his projects to the speed and efficiency of Civil Designer and admits to being a loyal user for three years. "I enjoy working with the program. It has simplified our lives to such an extent that we no longer have to spend long hours trying to create a drawing when the program performs this operation in a matter of seconds. It has definitely increased our productivity and we are always assured of high quality work and a professional presentation."

Northern Railway Extension
When Victor speaks about the Northern Railway Extension, his enthusiasm can hardly be contained. "This is the biggest project that we've ever undertaken to date. The entire initiative, which has been divided into three phases, is worth over N$ 1,4 billion."
  The project was requested in response to President Sam Nujoma's vision to develop the North of Namibia. This includes future plans for a new harbour at Cape Fria on the Skeleton Coast as well as a brand new road and rail link from Ondangwa to Cape Fria some 800km long. "We are currently busy constructing the line from Tsumeb to Ondangwa in phase one of the Northern Railway Extension. This 245km railway line has an estimated construction cost of N$850 million and is expected to be completed in December 2006," says Victor.

Aerial photography was used to assist the team with the alignment, which according to Victor was challenging to say the least. "Of the 245 km approximately 88 km falls on commercial farm land. The remainder of the railway goes through communal land that is scattered with shacks, schools, graveyards, kraals, and other obstacles. We conducted a three-month survey to accumulate the necessary information for the final horizontal and vertical design. During the design and even the construction, changes had to be made to the alignment due to some burial graves that were encountered. These graves were not even marked and local residents often had to point them out to the construction team on site," explains Victor.

The first 88km of the project was done using normal construction methods, while the rest of the venture was labour intensive. "We used workers to convey sub ballast material from borrow pits and fill material from the site onto the embankment. It is likely that the project will keep us occupied till 2008 and will generate large-scale employment. In some cases we have already employed more than 17800 people to assist with manual labour."

Phase two of the project entails the construction of a 59km railway line from Ondangwa to Oshikango. The estimated construction cost is N$ 329 million and is likely to be completed in December 2007. Similarly, phase three aims to extend a further 38km railway line from Ondangwa to Oshakati and has an estimated construction cost of N$ 220 million. The final phase of the project will be completed in December 2008.

Windhoek Consulting Engineers has been tasked with the prestigious responsibility of completing all the railway work in Namibia, an appointment that has everyone smiling. "It is such an incredible privilege to be working on assignments of this magnitude. The scope is endless! The earthwork embankment in phase one is currently 80% complete and we have also since completed 90km of permanent way construction."

Does the scope of this venture ever intimidate you? Victor laughs as he shakes his head. "We are doing big things in Namibia and I am proud to be part of something great. Moving here has been the best thing ever!"

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