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Siphofaneni Bridge, Swaziland

Aurecon designs innovative features for the Siphofaneni Bridge to reduce the transportation cost for the sugar industry

“It is humbling to be part of a project that is not only technically excellent but will help the people of Swaziland for years to come,” said Aurecon Professional Civil Engineer, Louis Steyn.

The Siphofaneni Bridge is a massive 375 metre-long incrementally launched bridge over the Usutu River, which forms part of the 23 km St Phillips Road upgrade project. The bridge will not only contribute to reduce transportation cost for sugar farmers in the industry, but will reshape and transform the local community to assist them to develop in future.

Aurecon was tasked with preliminary and detailed design, assistance with tender evaluation and construction supervision for the project.

Aurecon’s team developed innovative features for an incrementally launched bridge, which make use of reinforced concrete, instead of the post tensioned concentric cables during the construction stage. This resulted in cost savings and a simpler construction method.

Engineering solutions that will boost Swaziland’s sugar industry

The new bridge, which was designed and constructed according to world best practices, will also have a large impact on the community members in the region as well as the country’s economy. School children and local community members, for example, use the bridge to access local schools and clinics. Farmers who have to transport their sugar cane to the local sugar mill will be able to safely cross the river during flooding of the river.

The project formed part of a larger agreement, between Swaziland and the European Union, to develop the transportation infrastructure for the sugar industry, which included the development of approximately 11,105 ha of smallholder sugar chain farms. The purpose of the infrastructure development was to reduce the transportation cost for the sugar industry. According to international trade agreements, the European Union needs to reduce the current quotas that guarantee the price and quantities of sugar to be exported each year from Swaziland to the European Union. To help them achieve this goal, they have committed to improving the infrastructure for the sugar industry in Swaziland.

The bridge was officially inaugurated in June 2017. King Mswati III of Swaziland, Pastor Lindiwe Dlamini, Swaziland Minister of Public Works and Transport and Nicola Bellomo, European Union Ambassador to Swaziland, attended the official inauguration.

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