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Tolcon scores R1.7bn Sanral freeway management system tenders

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Transport infrastructure management company Tolcon Group has secured two tenders totalling R1.7 billion from the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral).

The contracts will see the company design, build, operate and maintain (DBOM) a freeway management system (FMS) for Gauteng at a cost of R891 million and the Western Cape at a cost of R830 million.

With its original eight-year FMS contract coming to a close, Sanral decided to “allow more local participation” by dividing the work into regional contracts for Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape.

An intelligent transport system (ITS) is also to be deployed in the Eastern Cape, creating the fourth DBOM contract.

Earlier this year, Sanral awarded the contract for the KwaZulu-Natal FMS to Netronix at a cost of R437 million.

The contracts were advertised as a duration of six years, with a possible extension for an additional two years.

Intelligent transport technologies

Having secured the contracts, Tolcon will be required to manage traffic by means of the use of ITS technologies in order to optimise the use of civil infrastructure. “This implies reducing delays and improving the safety of persons travelling on the freeways and roadways,” says Sanral.

There are a number of technologies that Telcon will be required to use to achieve this objective, which includes, but is not limited to, the use of:

  • CCTV cameras, traffic sensors and a variety of data sources allowing the observation of traffic conditions and identification of any incidents and any potentially dangerous situations that may occur.
  • Traveller information dissemination technologies such as variable message signs, e-mail messages, Twitter, WhatsApp and other similar social media platforms, commercial radio stations and a Web site that will be offered to any person or entity wishing to receive them. The purpose of these technologies is to warn travellers of road conditions as quickly as possible, reducing the delay they might have experienced without prior knowledge.
  • Advanced traffic management techniques such as ramp metering, shoulder lane running, and variable speed limits in order to prevent congestion.
  • Response co-ordination to an incident with other authorities (such as municipal traffic control) to reduce the delay that an incident would have caused without a co-ordinated response. This includes reducing the delay that an incident may cause by minimising the time taken for all steps in the incident response timeline.

The scope of work detailed in the tender documentation imposed specific requirements for each of the four deliverables.

In the design phase, Tolcon is expected to take over an existing FMS, which includes all hardware and software, to enable the required operational functions. The focus of the build phase will be on enhancements, expansions and “infills”. The company is required to design elements of a system that is compliant with Sanral's objectives and which can be integrated with the existing systems.

Following acceptance of designs, Tolcon will enter the build phase when it will supply, construct and install all systems.

Once the system is up and running, the company will be responsible for the operation of the ITS functions in the existing system as well as all new, enhanced and infill functions as and when they are commissioned. Tolcon is expected to provide all operations staff as well as take over staff from the current contractor.

Throughout the term of the contract, the company will be responsible for performing maintenance – both preventative and responsive – on all equipment under its management.

Taking its toll

The Tolcon Group was established in 1985, and Murray & Roberts sold its interest in 2014. The company is a provider of transport infrastructure management services in South Africa with the main focus on the operation and maintenance of toll roads.

“Tolcon Group has provided toll operations and maintenance services to Sanral since its inception in 1985. [It] currently operates numerous Sanral toll contracts around South Africa, including the N2 South Coast, Tsitsikamma, Huguenot Tunnel, N1N and N17 routes,” says Tolcon CEO Grant Patmore.

“[We] are very excited to be part of a project that provides road users with state of the art intelligent transportation systems. The project will provide real benefits to the road user, including safer roads through the provision of real-time traffic information, improved traffic congestion management and improved detection and response time to road accidents.”

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