(DEA&DP Ref No: 16/3/1/1/F1/11/3040/13)

The proposed project entails the rehabilitation and widening of Main Road 529 from Piketberg to Velddrift, a length of 55.7 km.  The road was originally constructed in the 1960’s and has been subject to periodic maintenance interventions (i.e. reseal / resurfacing) carried out by the provincial roads authority.  The road is located within a very sandy area of the Western Cape and the sandy support layers of the road have been severely damaged by mole activity in the area.  The damage manifests itself by forming undulations in the road surface which are caused by collapsed mole tunnels underneath.   These undulations pose a danger to motorists and result in increased maintenance costs to the provincial roads authority (i.e. patching of mole tunnel collapses).

Increases in traffic volumes, particularly heavy vehicles, have compounded the damage and have resulted in the existing surfaced road width of 6.2 m (with two 0.6 m to 1.5 m wide gravel shoulders) being insufficient and posing a safety hazard to motorists.

The road cross-section would therefore be widened to a provincial Class 3 standard, which makes provision for a 9.8 m carriageway width, which comprises of two 3.4 m wide lanes, two 0.9 m wide surfaced shoulders and two 0.6 m wide gravel shoulders.   The existing road surface would be compacted using impact rollers to address the mole damage.  The existing road layers would then be in-situ recycled and cement stabilised to a depth of 200 mm.  A new 150 mm thick crushed stone base layer (imported from a commercial source) would be placed on top of this layer to provide the main structural layer for the road.  This layer would subsequently be surfaced with a bituminous double seal.

Traffic accommodation would be done in half-widths using a Stop/Go system and traffic signals.  The work area would be limited to a maximum length of 4 km with 4 km spaces in between successive work zones.  A maximum number of four half-width construction areas would be permitted at any one time during the
36 month construction period.

In addition to the main roadworks, the following ancillary works are required:

  • lengthening of existing pipe and box culverts crossing the road (extensions ranging from approximately
    2 m to 4 m);
  • construction of additional pipe and box culverts crossing the road;
  • provision of erosion protection at inlet and outlet structures of culverts;
  • construction of concrete lined side drains in cuttings mainly between km 0 and km 4 (1.05 m wide);
  • Earth side drains (approximately 0.7 m deep and 0.5 m wide), where space allows; and
  • widening of the existing two bridges across the Platkloof River and Boesmans River.

The extent of the two bridge widening’s would be confined to the bridge decks by cantilevering the widened section off the existing bridge deck and would not involve any work on the bridge foundations (i.e. columns and abutments).  Work in this instance would therefore not affect the footprint of the two structures.

Jeffares & Green (J&G) has been appointed by the Western Cape Provincial Government, Department of Transport and Public Works (DTPW) to undertake the detailed engineering design for the rehabilitation of MR529 between Piketberg and Velddrif to a Class 3 Road.  The project scope was recently revised, resulting in the project triggering a listed activity in terms of the National Environmental Management Act, 1998 (Act No. 107 of 1998) as amended.

A budget of R 250 million has already been allocated to the project and should the DTPW not go out for tender in September 2014, there would be significant financial implications for the DTPW in both the current and future financial years. As such, an authorities meeting was held on 26 July 2013 to discuss the proposed project and the way forward.

In order to ensure that construction is able to commence prior to the Environmental Authorisation, the following was agreed at the meeting with DEA&DP:

  • The only Listed Activity to be triggered is Listed Activity 12 from Listing Notice 3 (clearance of vegetation), which requires a Basic Assessment Process to be undertaken.
  • DTPW to apply for Environmental Authorisation only for the sections where the road passes through Critical Biodiversity Areas (CBA).
  • DEA&DP agreed to reducing certain timeframes in order to shorten the process.
  • DEA&DP confirmed that the Contractor would be able to commence construction activities prior to an Environmental Authorisation and would be able to work along the entire stretch of road but would not be able to remove any vegetation from the sections that form part of the Basic Assessment Process.

In light of the above, please take note that this Basic Assessment Report deals only with those sections of road that pass through Critical Biodiversity Areas, and not the entire road alignment.

Holland and Associates Environmental Consultants have been appointed by the Department of Transport and Public Works to assist in fulfilling the legally required environmental process for the proposed project.

The Final Basic Assessment Report has been made available to the public for a 21 day comment period, and is downloadable via the link below. Should you have any comments, issues or concerns regarding the proposed project, please provide your comments in writing via post, e-mail or fax to Mr Ross Holland of Holland & Associates Environmental Consultants (Fax: 086 653 1765, email: or post: PO Box 31108, Tokai, 7966) on or before 06 March 2014.