Civil Designer Showcase

Hospital Bend Road Upgrade

THE much talked about Hospital Bend upgrade design has finally been completed and is currently under construction. According to Chief Technician Carlos dos Santos from BKS (Pty) Ltd Engineering and Management, the approximately R200-million upgrade to the N2/Settlers Freeway will enhance traffic flow and reduce congestion at Hospital Bend. This multi-disciplinary project is described as one of BKS's flagship projects.

"The geometric design of the roads turned out to be extremely intricate. There were about twenty individual road alignments that required quite a bit of maneuvering to accommodate the design specification. I found that this project kept me up at night! Fortunately, we could rely on a program like Civil Designer to help us balance the complicated earthworks," recalls Carlos.

With a background in Surveying, Carlos has found himself in the ideal position to combine his extensive infrastructure design track record with his first hand knowledge of surveying. This, together with his cool, calm nature and level headed approach, has provided the key attributes necessary to tackle the project.

The venture, which originally began in 1997, was funded by the City of Cape Town. "The early phase of the project included various concepts for the building of a new bridge, the widening of the existing bridge, new road works, and the rehabilitation of the existing roadway to ease traffic congestion. This also involved drainage, street lighting and direction signage improvements," explains Carlos.

According to Carlos, the road leading to Hospital Bend was originally a single lane road, which, as traffic increased, required the creation of additional lanes. Vehicles then weaved their way across to the N2 or M3 lanes. This however resulted in the weaving of some 3500 vehicles from one lane to another within a limited distance, causing traffic congestion. The solution was to upgrade the existing road to allow vehicles to pre-select their lanes sooner, and thereby remove most of the need to weave.

Inward-Bound Lanes
"We began the first phase of the design in 1997. This involved the extension of the in-bound third lane from Settlers Way, the introduction of a pre-selection lane from Rhodes Drive (M3), and the relocation of the Anzio Road on-ramp as an overpass for traffic going towards Cape Town. Although the upgrade would involve moving the incoming lanes closer to the Rhodes Estate section of the Table Mountain National Park, the upgrade had to be built within the current road reserve. This was one of the major design restrictions. We also tried as far as possible to match or preferably even improve on infrastructure design standards during this phase of the design," explains Carlos.
Hospital Bend Upgrade | BKS (Pty) Ltd Engineering

Outward-Bound Lanes
The second phase of the design project involved the proposed upgrade of the outward-bound lanes. "One of the design restrictions provided by the EIA was that as many of the existing stone pines between the inward-and outward-bound lanes of Upper De Waal Drive be retained. Other challenges included intricate cut and fill optimizations as well as the erection of reinforced earth retaining walls."

Carlos's experience in the use of Civil Designer has allowed him to capitalize on the program's capabilities when presenting the various design scenarios to council. Although the assignment is now in the construction phase, it took many long meetings which included the monthly Project Management Team meetings to deliver the finished product. "I have worked on many design projects in the past but this venture has challenged me quite a bit." says Carlos.

"Every engineer dreams of completing a high profiled project of this magnitude at least once in their lifetime. The Hospital Bend Upgrade design project has therefore been a dream come true for me, and a truly humbling experience." According to Carlos, the final phase of the project will include the resurfacing of all the lanes and has a completion date of April 2010.

image Carlos dos Santos is the Chief Technician at BKS (Pty) Ltd Engineering and Management, a wholly-owned South African company with offices throughout Africa. After completing his Surveying Diploma at the Durban Institute of Technology, Carlos accumulated extensive experience, whilst working for companies like Grinaker Construction in Zululand, Campbell Bernstein & Irving and Uhlmann Witthaus & Prins. He has been able to draw on this experience and combined it with the infrastructure design expertise gained at BKS to create a powerful mix.

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