Hatch nears completion of Sandton Rea Vaya BRT project

13 April 2017
The Sandton Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project, for which Hatch has provided design and construction supervision services, is nearing completion. This has been a particularly challenging project for the consulting engineer, as it involved both roadworks and an iconic cable-stayed bridge structure.
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application/msword iconPress release_Hatch nears completion of Sandton Rea Vaya BRT project_approved35.5 KBDownload
PreviewCliff Weideman is Design Lead, Project Manager and Contracts Engineer on-site for Hatch.159.84 KBDownload
PreviewThe ascending and descending ramp connections are supported by reinforced concrete bases.1.93 MBDownload
PreviewThe cable-stayed bridge option was chosen due to its prominent position over South Africa’s busiest urban freeway.2.11 MBDownload
PreviewThe new iconic landmark comprises the approach ramps, the cable-stayed bridge, and the twin pylons.2.16 MBDownload
PreviewThe twin pylons climbing into the sky are integral part of this iconic new landmark.1.97 MBDownload

Hatch is the consulting engineer for the implementing agent, the Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA), explains Cliff Weideman, who is Design Lead, Project Manager and Contracts Engineer on-site for Hatch.

The Johannesburg BRT system, known as Rea Vaya, will link central Johannesburg, Sandton, and Alexandra. The project was awarded to a Joint Venture (JV) partnership comprising Hatch, Royal Haskoning DHV, and Malani Padayachee & Associates (MPA).

This phase of the project was complicated by the fact that it was divided into five contracts, which meant five tender documents, adjudication reports, and five different sets of site meetings between the contractors involved.

“Our scope of work focused on Section 8, which commences from the Gautrain Station in Sandton, down West Street and Katherine Drive, whereupon we cross the M1 motorway and rejoin Louis Botha,” Weideman highlights. The Sandton section of the project is about 4 km in length, while the Louis Botha stretch is about 11 km.

The five contracts of the Sandton link are all being aligned for completion by end April, and are being designed and supervised by Hatch exclusively. Weideman notes that the major challenges on this project have been traffic accommodation, relocation of services, and the involvement of SMMEs from the local community.

Apart from the iconic cable-stayed bridge over the M1 motorway, the project included the major rebuild of the old two-lane Sandspruit Bridge, which could no longer accommodate the heavy traffic volume on Katherine Street between Grayston Drive and Marlboro Drive. This has subsequently been expanded to accommodate six lanes.

The multi-million rand Sandton BRT bridge is, in fact, one of two new bridges being built over the M1 motorway between Alexandra and Sandton as part of the Rea Vaya network extension. The other, about 1.5 km south of the Sandton BRT bridge, is the cycling-pedestrian bridge that will run alongside the Grayston Drive bridge, according to the JDA.

Construction commenced in March 2015, with the bridge itself largely completed in February this year. The new iconic landmark comprises the approach ramps, the cable-stayed bridge over the motorway, and the twin pylons climbing into the sky.

The cable-stayed bridge option was chosen partly because of its prominent position, but also for construction practicalities over South Africa’s busiest urban freeway. An architect was commissioned to develop the concept and aesthetic design, while Hatch carried out the structural engineering and detailed design.

Commenting on the pavement specification used on the project, Weideman elaborates: “Obviously, the existing pavement cannot handle the bus loads, so we used a 150-mm-thick bitumen treated base. In addition, at the BRT stations and intersection approaches, we used an open-graded asphalt containing cement. This is to strengthen the road surface, and make it more resistant to the acceleration and deceleration forces of the buses at the station.”

Hatch resident engineer Trevor Nxumalo explains that the western ramp for the Sandton BRT Bridge is about 1 km from Grayston Drive, with the eastern ramp terminating on Lees Street in Alexandra. The ascending and descending ramp connections are supported by reinforced concrete bases that support the concrete cladding on the reinforced earth ramps on either side of the M1.

Taking into account the existing road infrastructure posed a major challenge, Nxumalo highlights. With most of Alexandra and Sandton already highly developed, careful attention had to be paid to accommodating the new BRT lanes. In addition, there was existing water reticulation, electricity mains, and fibreoptic cabling.

“This has been a fantastic project from an engineering point of view, as it encompassed roadworks, the iconic bridge, and related infrastructure, all in a live environment. It showcased our exceptional bridge design, project management, and construction supervisory capabilities,” Weideman concludes.


Notes to the editor
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About Hatch
Hatch supplies process and business consulting, information technology, engineering, procurement and project and construction management and operational services to the mining, metallurgical, energy and infrastructure industries.

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