Minister Carlisle and Councillor Herron Officially Open the M5/Koeberg Interchange Road
The M5 between the N1 and the N2 has been upgraded from two lanes to three lanes in both directions. A new road has been built over the road bridge at Valkenberg and the existing one has been removed. The bridge has been widened at Berkley Road, and the bridge at the Black River has also been widened.
The project is the culmination of a 20-year series of projects costing over R2 billion. The work has been excellent and very efficient, and the projects were delivered on time and on budget.
The contract was valued at R137 million and was over a period of 18 months. The project is a result of a partnership between the Provincial Roads and Transport Management branch of the Western Cape Department of Transport and Public Works and Vusela Construction (Pty) Ltd and BKS (Pty) Ltd, with CCA Environmental and Safe Working Practice serving as the environmental and health and safety consultants respectively. Another key partner in this endeavour has been the City of Cape Town, who have shared the responsibility of providing the required infrastructure with the Provincial Government.
Despite the complexity of the construction and the 57 million vehicles passing through the site during construction, the road was never closed. It is encouraging to note that there have only been 26 accidents to date, and none fatal. There was only one construction-related accident during construction. The team managed to ensure that the site was safe for both the traffic passing through, as well as for the workers, by learning from past experiences and adhering to project specifications.
Empowerment has been a very important element of the project. The main contractor of the project - Vusela Construction - employed 130 labourers for the duration of the contract. Seven students participated in a learnership programme, some of whom are still employed by Vusela. A total of R670 000 was spent on training, which included training in:
- Basic business principles.
- Fire fighting.
- First aid.
- Health and safety.
The building and maintenance of infrastructure is something that the Western Cape Government sees as a high priority. In this administration, the provincial government has managed to reduce the maintenance backlogs by 16% and plans to increase this figure to 27% within the next three years.
It is important to understand also that mobility issues are not only solved by the construction of good roads, but also by the implementation of an effective public transport system. Changes in public transport systems aid in reducing congestion in as much as increasing the number of lanes on our busiest roads.
The construction industry can be assured that the province is aware of the challenges that the industry experiences, and is cognisant of the responsibility it has towards addressing these challenges.