The contractors on the F46 Rand Water pipeline project could be packing their machinery and leaving the area before Christmas.
This was confirmed by the Maziya General Services project manager, Johan Pretorius, who pointed out that the initial deadlines were disrupted by unforeseen conditions on the ground in very deep excavations.
Ward 126 councillor, David Brand, confirmed that the project was running late due to delays caused by the depth the contractors are working at, especially on Amarant Street in Weltevreden Park, where they hit rock. “The major delay on the Amarant Street was because they had to get the pipe underneath the stream. The process required some soil to be between the stream and the pipe otherwise it would be too dangerous to work. They are working at the depth of 9m. A little while ago they hit rock, but they didn’t want to use conventional explosives and decided to break the rock chemically,” he explained.
Pretorius admitted to the delay but said that they had passed through that rock. However, he said that they had encountered another one. “We’ve encountered a rock face of approximately 30 metres long, approximately 7 metres deep, and wider than our trench,”he said.
“This takes time, as we have to drill into the blue granite which is a very hard rock, then we put chemicals in the holes and wait for the rock to crack. We can only do this in sections of 1,5 metres at a time. We have to then clear the rock face and start the process all over again.”
“With any rain or water, the chemicals don’t work, and the process starts all over again,” Pretorius indicated.
When asked how they could not have known about the rock, Brand said the contractor knew of its presence, but not exactly where it was located. “A geologist could tell them what type of rock they would find, as well as what type of soil they’d encounter, e.g. clay. But the only way to see the exact position is to dig a hole and look at it. However, given the technicalities of the area, the contractor might miss a monster rock by half a metre, or he might go through it at the same rate,” he said.
Apart from the rocks and any other unforeseen obstacles, Pretorius said, “If no other unforeseen obstacle crosses our path, we will be off the roads by 14 December. If there is anything outstanding, it will be minimal and not disrupt the public or community”.
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