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N1 Highway Upgrade (Ventersburg to Kroonstad)

Project Overview

One of the most important routes in the country, South Africa’s N1 runs from Cape Town through Bloemfontein, Johannesburg, Pretoria and Polokwane to Beit Bridge on the border with Zimbabwe.

With construction dating back to the 1970s, the 43km stretch from Ventersburg to Kroonstad urgently required complete reconstruction. As one of the busiest roads in the Free State, and one used by heavy vehicles at an ever-increasing volume, deterioration of the road made travel hazardous, resulting in dangerous driving conditions, accidents and fatalities.

Our Role

In 2015 SMEC was engaged by the South African National Roads Agency Ltd. (SANRAL) to provide full design, contract documentation and construction supervision services for the N1 highway upgrade between Ventersburg to Kroonstad.

SMEC provided design and construction supervision services for the rehabilitation of the existing Kroonstad bypass and the upgrade of the single rural carriageway, between Ventersburg and Kroonstad, to a new dual carriageway freeway. This also included the construction of seven bridges and numerous smaller structures.

Meticulous planning and temporary diversions were employed to allow uninterrupted traffic flow during the works as the route averages 1,500 trucks per day.

SMEC’s design focus was to ensure the project was delivered as environmentally and sustainably as possible. This required the industry norm for the recycling of the existing asphalt surfaces into new asphalt layers to be doubled from 20% to 40%. The increased target required industry leading experts to evaluate the asphalt designs and demanded very strict quality control and continuous testing. The result achieved a saving of 3,000 tonnes of bitumen and 64,000 tonnes of aggregate that did not have to be extracted from crude oil or mined. Not only did this reduce pollution, it also saved energy and scarce resources.

South African communities can now travel much more comfortably and safely along the N1 from Ventersburg to north of Kroonstad. The project also eased congestion and the running costs of freight transport between Cape Town and the industrial centre of South Africa, Johannesburg, which was one of SANRAL’s goals in implementing this project.

South Africa
Technical Area:
South African National Roads Agency Ltd. (SANRAL)

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