Aurecon Lesotho (Pty) Ltd has been appointed by the Lesotho Highlands Development Authority (LHDA) to design and supervise the construction of the major bridges to be built in Phase II of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP). The major bridges project also includes the realignment of the A1 national road in the vicinity of the bridges. Lesotho-based White Life Consultants (Pty) Ltd and Leporogo Specialist Engineers CC of South Africa are sub-consultants.
Valued at approximately M123 million, the contract commenced on 05 November. Construction of the bridges is expected to be completed in early 2024.
“The LHDA is proud to announce another contract award. Each of these is another step on our journey to deliver Phase II of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project on behalf of the governments of Lesotho and South Africa and to advancing the economies of our two countries,” commented Refiloe Tlali, CE, Lesotho Highlands Development Authority.
Three major bridges spanning the Polihali reservoir – the Senqu, Mabunyaneng and Khubelu bridges - will be constructed on the existing A1 national road between Oxbow in the Buthe-Buthe district and Mokhotlong in the mountainous, north-east of Lesotho where the Polihali Dam and Polihali Water Transfer Tunnel, the major works of Phase II, will be constructed. The bridges will restore the A1 access that will be lost as a result of the reservoir inundation.
Constructed at high altitude in mountainous terrain across a deep steep valley, the Senqu Bridge is expected to be over 100m tall and almost 600ms long. It is the largest of the major bridges. The other two will be smaller with an approximate height of 20m and lengths of 45 and 150m.
The bridges will be required when inundation of the reservoir starts just after the completion of the Phase II major works. Water transfer to South Africa is expected to commence in 2026.
Phase II of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project builds on the successful completion of Phase I in 2003. It delivers water to the Gauteng region of South Africa and utilises the water delivery system to generate hydroelectricity for Lesotho. Phase II will increase the current supply rate of 780 million cubic metres per annum incrementally to more than 1 270 million cubic metres per annum. At the same time, it will increase the quantity of electricity generated in Lesotho and is a further step in the process of securing an independent electricity source to meet Lesotho’s domestic requirements.