July 20, 2016

The South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) his issued tenders to six pre-qualified bidders for each of the mega-bridges, over the Mtentu and Msikaba River gorges, that are to be part of the greenfield section of the N2 Wild Coast Road project.

This is in spite of the fact that the project, which has been dogged by controversy since its inception 15 years ago, still faces some unresolved legal issues. There was huge opposition from KwaZulu-Natal road users who expected to fund the project through increased tolling in their province. However, this opposition has fallen away as the KwaZulu-Natal section has been excluded from the project. The revised N2 Wild Coast Road Project runs from East London to the Mtamvuna River Bridge, a distance of approximately 410km.

Bizana residents fear being displaced and the Amadiba Crisis Committee has objected to the project, claiming it is linked to the Xolobeni dune mining proposal, against which they are fighting. Conservation organisations are bitterly opposed to the fact that the greenfields section of the proposed route will pass through the environmentally sensitive Pondoland Centre of Endemism, part of a global floral hot spot.

Sanral spokesman Mbulelo Peterson said that an open pre-qualification process had been followed before the issuing of the tenders. He said that, due to the size and complexity of the two bridges, which are expected to cost around R3,5-billion to construct, the tender periods were 18 weeks and 20 weeks respectively for the Mtentu and Msikaba Bridges. Tenders would close at the end of October for the Mtentu Bridge and early in November for the Msikaba Bridge. Construction of the bridges was likely to start early next year.

THE N2 Wild Coast road project was already well under way as Sanral had started working on it as soon as it had received the go-ahead from the Minister of Environmental Affairs in 2010. Mr Peterson said that, to date, Sanral had done extensive work on upgrading existing roads on the N2 between East London and Mthatha and on the future new N2 alignment along the current R61 route between Mthatha and Port St Johns.

All work already done on the N2 Wild Coast Road had been funded from non-toll funding and only the greenfields section of the route would be funded through a mix of government grant and tollings.

“Sanral, the Department of Transport and National Treasury are in discussion to finalise the funding model for the greenfields section. By law only roads funded through toll funding can be tolled and no cross-subsidisation of tolling is allowed,” he said.

This meant Sanral could not erect new toll booths or adjust tariffs at existing toll plazas within KwaZulu-Natal to fund roads in the Eastern Cape.

“New toll roads must be gazetted and go through an extensive public participation process after gazetting.”

In January this year, government gave the green light for the construction of the greenfields section of the project, between Ndwalane outside Port St Johns and the Mtamvuna River.

Mr Peterson said this part of the project would start with the construction of the massive bridges over the Mtentu and Msikaba Rivers, which border the Mkambati Nature Reserve. Once these were under way, construction of the remaining approximately 110km of road, the seven additional river bridges and four interchanges would start.

Source - Southcoast Herald

July 4, 2016

India to help Build Nepal Road

Tasked to improve road connectivity in remote parts of India's Northeast, the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd (NHIDCL) is now venturing into Nepal where it has been assigned to guide the construction of over 600 km of postal roads in the Terai region bordering India.

A postal road is a road designated for the transportation of postal mail.

According to an MoU inked between India and Nepal, the decision was taken after a similar attempt by the Nepal Government failed to make progress due to negligence of the contractors in 2010.

"The Postal Road in the Terai region of Nepal will boost the country's much awaited road network. Under this current project the NHIDCL will be tasked to guide the construction of 19 postal roads of an outlay of 600 km," one of the top officials at NHIDCL told IANS declining to be identified.

He said the construction of 19 postal roads are under six packages for different parts of the Terai region.

"Basically we will be playing the role of consultants in the entire project. The biddings and all the tendering work of the road construction will be done by Nepal. Our work will basically be to see that the work does not witness failure like earlier," the official said.

According to the official, the decision for handing over the guidance work was decided during the recent visit of Nepal's Prime Minister K.P. Oli to India.

Abhay Thakur, Joint Secretary at the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), told IANS: "Yes, It has been proposed to the Nepal Government for appointing NHIDCL as the consultant for the postal road projects. Though the precise MoU between the NHIDCL and Nepal Government is likely to be inked next week... all things are decided."

He said contractors from both Nepal and India can do the bidding for the postal roads projects.

The NHIDCL authority, who did not wished to be named, said the postal road has been prioritised for the development of Terai/Madhes region by expanding the road network. The 600 km work is only for the first phase. Both the countries will decide the agenda for the remaining works also."

Stating that the project was being financed by India, he said that the money will be given to Nepal for the execution of different stages of work, which will be over looked by the NHIDCL.

According to sources, the cost of the first phase of road construction in the Terai is estimated to increase to Rs 9 billion from the earlier Rs 7 billion. The total project cost will also rise from the previous estimate of Rs 29 billion. Around 130 bridges have to built along the 600 km highway.

Asked if NHIDCL has been given any other foreign projects, the authority said: "The creation of NHIDCL was for creation of difficult roads. The Government has full confidence on us and we are ready to undertake any project in any part of the world under any circumstance. However, there are no immediate foreign projects as of now."

NHIDCL, created in 2014, has recently been given the task of constructing over 4,000 km of roads in the Northeast and Jammu and Kashmir. The organisation was established after Border Roads Organisation (BRO) and Public Works Department of the states failed to carry out road construction in many remote parts in hilly terrain.
Source - Indian Express

June 22, 2016

Chile Road Projects Tender

Chile is pushing ahead with infrastructure development. The Ministry of Public Works intends to award five to seven projects during 2016. 

The Ministry of Public Works has also set a target of having 12-13 major infrastructure projects being awarded and worth a total of US$6 billion by the time the current administration comes to the end of its term.

One road project due to be awarded shortly is for the phase two of the Vespucio Oriente link. The tender is expected to open in July 2016. 
The projects for the Ruta de la Fruta, El Loa link and the road from Los Vilos to La Serena will also be put to tender in 2016. Meanwhile the tender process for the $1 billion Costanera Central project will be put out to tender in 2017.

First publishedon www.WorldHighways.com

June 16, 2016

Nepal Spends on Road

The prime Minister, other ministers and influential leaders of the opposition parties have managed to get huge funds allocated to their respective constituencies for the development of minor local roads in order to woo local voters.

As many as 98 minor and local roads that were allocated only Rs 1 million or little more in the budget have now been upgraded into multi-year projects, analysis of information provided to Republica by the National Planning Commission (NPC)  shows.

The Ministry of Finance has decided to allocate Rs 40 billion for initiating multi-year tender processes for these projects. However, the roads in question have not been listed as strategic roads, nor has the economic returns been weighed. Line agencies of the Department of Roads have already started the tender process for several of the projects. 
These huge amounts are on top of the budget allocation of Rs 42.02 billion in the current fiscal year. Minor projects that had been allocated between Rs 1 million to Rs 5 million are now receiving Rs 10 million and above. A few of them are receiving over a billion.

Four minor road projects in Jhapa, the home district of Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, have now been converted into multi-year projects and guaranteed funding of about Rs 1 billion. The projects are Lakhanpur-Mangalbare-Mujarphutta-Jyotinagar road, Satamari-Bhalubari road, Charali Kechana ring road and Damak ring road.

Likewise, Biratnagar-Debanganj road in the constituency of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transport (MoPIT) Bijaya Gachchhadar has been upgraded into a multi-year project.

Likewise, Finance Minister Bishnu Prasad Paudel has allocated about Rs 3 billion  for similar projects in his  constituency. Belbas-Nuwakot-Dobhan road and Belbash-Bethari road have been turned into multi-year projects. The fiscal year budget had allocated Rs 5 million for the Belbash Bethari road and this sum has now been increased to Rs 1.94 billion.
Swarnim Wagle, senior economist and former member of the NPC, said bringing a road to every voter is not the solution to the lack of efficient road infrastructure in the country. He suggested focusing on good roads over the shortest distances and efficient transportation.

Priority projects in top leaders' constituencies

Three influential leaders from Pyuthan district have used their sway to get minor projects prioritized. Govind Raj Pokharel, former NPC vice chairman, has converted at least two projects into multiyear ones. He was also involved in project selections for the current fiscal year. Track opening and upgrading of Jhimruk ring road and the Hatiyagaun Jabune-Airabati road in Pyuthan have now been prioritized. Likewise, Bamdev Gautam, former home minister and senior leader of the CPN UML, has secured funds for the black-topping of Bhigri-Swargadwari road and the construction of a ring road in Madi Model Municipality.

Rekha Sharma, lawmaker of the CPN (Maoist Center) and minister for general administration, has gotten four roads, also in Pyuthan, converted into multi-year contracts. Cherneta-Salghari-Sari-Dandagau road, Badadanda-Kaskot-Hansapur-Airawati road, and Okharkot-Machchhi-Tanda Pokhari road are among the four.
Balkrishna Khand, influential leader of the Nepali Congress from Rupandehi district, has secured a few multi-year road projects also. Bauddha Paripath-Ramgram-Panditpur-Jyamire road, Harkatawa road and Murgiya- Suryapura-Lumbini road in Rupandehi, and two other minor roads in the Lumbini area were recommended by Khand for such conversion. Similarly, senior UML leaders Janardan Dhakal, Surendra Pandey, Parbat Gurung, Rajendra Pandey, Lal Bahadur Rawal, Yagyaraj Sunuwar, Deepak Karki, and Janardan Sharma of CPN (Maoist Center) have also secured projects in their home districts.

Sumitra Amatya, a member of the NPC, told Republica that "projects are being converted as a new experiment for completing projects listed in the budget within three years and averting the continuous financial burden of such small projects over as much as a decade." She further said that conversion into multiyear does not mean the resources are allocated right away as the funds will only be disbursed after the detailed project report (DPR) and environment impact assessment (EIA) are completed.
- See more at: http://www.myrepublica.com/feature-article/story/44377/billions-for-local-roads-in-home-districts-of-bigwigs.html#sthash.Bc81YyAD.dpuf

June 7, 2016

Concrete to Replace Bitumen..

Concrete Roads 20% Cheaper Than Bitumen, More Durable – Dangote

The president of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote yesterday said using concrete in road construction is 20 percent less costly than using other materials.

The business man disclosed this at Itori, Ewekoro local government area of Ogun State during the inauguration of a 26 km concrete road constructed by his company as part of its corporate social responsibility, CSR, to the people of the area.

According to Dangote, apart from saving cost,  roads constructed with concrete last longer than bitumen roads and do not require much maintenance.

“Our decision to introduce cement concrete roads in Nigeria, is in line with what obtains in other parts of the world. For instance, the famous Autobahn in Germany, was constructed with concrete. The equally popular Marine Drive in Mumbai, India, which was built in 1939, is another example of a concrete road.”

The business mogul further stated that players in the cement industry in Nigeria have been clamouring for a rethink on how roads are constructed in the country saying to save billions that go into maintaining bitumen roads, concrete roads are the answers.

“The Nigerian cement industry as our contribution to finding a cost-effective and lasting solution to this problem, has been advocating the construction of concrete roads as a more viable alternative to asphalt roads. That is why we at DIL, are venturing into the construction of concrete roads. Today’s ceremony is just the beginning for us, as we will soon embark on the building of more concrete roads in other States of the Federation, including Lagos, Bauchi, Kogi and Kaduna.

Dangote explained that his company embarked on construction of Itori -Ibese road to contribute their quota to easing suffering of the people of the area occasioned by poor state of the road also help their business.

“This project was conceived in 2014, as part of our efforts to ease movement of our heavy duty trucks from our Ibese Cement Plant to other parts of the country. We realised that the existing narrow road built in the ’70s, had virtually collapsed and needed to be reconstructed to accommodate our trucks and other road users.

“First, concrete roads are not only about 20 percent cheaper than the conventional asphalt roads, but they also last longer and do not have potholes. Also, concrete roads do not require frequent maintenance and they save fuel for motorists and protect tyres from wear and tear.

He noted that apart from being cost effective and durable, materials for making concrete roads are locally sourced.

“Another advantage of concrete roads is that cement, the basic raw material is for construction, is available locally, and is cheaper to use in the long run than bitumen, a petroleum-based product that is presently imported. As a matter of fact, in Nigeria, economic losses due to poor condition of our roads is estimated at about $1billion annually. I believe that the introduction of concrete roads will enable the government to find lasting solution to the poor road network in the country, and also reduce the burden of constantly sourcing for funds to repair roads.

Source- leadership

May 18, 2016

NHAI to convert 1,205 km of State Highways into National Highways

The Detailed Project Report for laying of a road connecting Anantapur in Rayalaseema with new Capital City of Amaravati will be ready in two months, said Transport and R&B Minister Sidda Raghava Rao.

The straight road, to be funded by the Centre, is expected to cost about Rs.18,000 crore and once ready, the travel time between the two cities will be just six hours.

A team of officials comprising Roads &Buildings Principal Secretary Sam Bob, Engineer in Chief and others left for San Francisco on a study tour on execution of such projects, he said.

Addressing a media conference here on Tuesday, Mr. Raghava Rao detailed the work done by the department ahead of the Andhra Pradesh Government completing two years on June 8.
While the length of roads under R&B is 45,000 km, nearly 4,000 km single-lane roads were widened into two-lane roads.

“While the 10-year rule by the Congress left the roads in a shambles, Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu took it upon himself to improve their condition in the State and also lay new roads. Roads are the basic infrastructure required for the industrial development”, he said.

The Government’s objective was to connect rural areas to mandal headquarters, mandals to district headquarters and the district headquarters to the new Capital City Amaravati.

In the current financial year another 2,517 km of single-lane roads would be widened into two-lane roads, 38 km of two-lane roads would be developed into four-lane roads.

Road bridges

The department also proposes to construct nine Road Over Bridges and 25 bridges. Special repairs would be taken up on 2,412 km of roads.

The National Highways Authority of India gave a commitment to convert 1,205 km of State Highways into National Highways. The Roads &Buildings Department allocated Rs.3,000 crore during current fiscal for development of State highways and link roads.

In the 2014-15 fiscal, 1,336 km of roads were widened into two-lane roads and another 3,089 km of roads were repaired and three Road over Bridges and another 20 bridges constructed.
In the 2015-16 financial year, 2,636 km single-lane roads were developed into two-lane roads and special repairs were carried out on 2,890 km of roads besides constructing five RoBs and 18 bridges.

World Bank funds

The roads being laid with World Bank funds such as Rajahmundry to Kakinada were monitored and the contractors who do not execute quality work removed. The R&B also took over 5,420 km of Panchayat Raj roads recently and tenders were being called shortly to develop 545 km of roads.

For the Krishna Pushkaram, R&B would spend Rs.389 crore on improvement of roads and the works completed by July-end, he said.

Source- The Hindu

April 22, 2016

Highway Project Model

Introduced last year by the Union ministry of road transport and highways, acceptance of the hybrid annuity model or HAM for tendering of road projects by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) was initially weak. It continues to remain so.

For instance, the first bid under the HAM model, for four-laning of the Solan-Kaithalighat section in Himachal Pradesh, had no takers. The bid terms had to be revised.

Till date, five projects totalling 279 km (Rs 6,700 crore in value) have been awarded. The FY16 target for HAM was set at 1,400 km. Experts, however, say with more than half of NHAI’s project pipeline lined up under HAM and the government having addressed the sector's key concerns, this is likely to pick up.

After the first bid failed, the government addressed some of the key impediments, particularly on forest clearance and land acquisition. Further, HAM, often referred to as a mix of the Build, Operate, Transfer (BOT) and Engineering, Procurement, Construction (EPC) models, addresses the concerns on both.

Under the latter model, a winning contractor builds the road project and hands it over to the government after completing the construction. Under BOT, he builds the project and operates (collects toll, maintains the road) it, handing it over on completion of the concession period.

Primary concerns such as land acquisition, traffic risk and inflation in BOT projects have been adequately addressed in HAM. Further, with NHAI pitching in 40 per cent of the capital, the project equity risk is likely to be lowered to 18 per cent (as against 30 per cent for BOT) of the project cost, resulting in a superior return profile to that under BOT.
Highway contracts: Hybrid annuity projects to gain pace
HAM scores over EPC for the government as well. From 100 per cent cost of capital to be borne by NHAI under EPC, the exposure is reduced to 40 per cent under HAM.

The question is whether companies would opt for HAM in its new avatar. Virendra Mhaiskar, chairman, IRB Infrastructure, terming HAM a deferred EPC payment structure, feels it might not offer good operating margins or a return creation opportunity vis-a-vis the current BOT model that his company prefers. “Just to wet our feet and find out how really the process happens, we (IRB) might participate in a few bids under HAM but for now, we are not looking at it in a big way,” he said.

Experts say the approach on HAM will depend on a company's stance and current needs. It would have little to do with any concern over the project or model.

Santosh Yellapu of Angel Broking says, “How companies want to build their order books would determine if they want to bid for HAM projects.” According to him, larger companies such as IRB Infra, Ashoka Buildcon and IL&FS Transportation Networks might not participate in the current round of HAM bids, as their current order book is comfortable. Smaller companies such as MBL Infrastructures, MEP Infrastructure Developers and Welspun Corporation, whose order book is in the process of being strengthened, might have more appetite.

A report by ratings agency ICRA adds that features of the HAM model are expected to elicit a favourable response, especially from large EPC players and some BOT ones. Even so, despite a large part of the concerns being addressed, there are other issues influencing companies. Analysts at Emkay Financial Services point to the large difference between L1 (lowest bid price) and L2 (second lowest price) as signifying that no developer wants to bid aggressively.

Some are more optimistic. Kunal Seth of Prabhudas Lilladher feels the larger entities might be warming up to the idea. Also, with BOT projects unlikely to see any meaningful return for older entities such as Gammon, GMR Infra and HCC, given the strain on their finances, some experts feel the trend of declining bids under the BOT model could go on. As more bids open under the HAM model, it might compel the larger ones to change their operating strategy.

For example, the pipeline for EPC projects, though higher than BOT, is less than half that for HAM. “Instead of bidding for three-four small road projects, a large HAM project might be more rewarding for the bigger players as well,” says Seth.

Source- Business Standard

February 22, 2016

Coastal Road Phase 1

The Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) is yet to give its final nod for the Rs 12,000-crore coastal road project, but the BMC is gearing up to begin work on it and will be rolling out the work tenders for the first phase in three months. The decision to roll out the work tenders was taken after the peer review report on the first phase.

“The peer review report for phase 1 of the coastal road project is complete and the tenders for the first phase stretching from Priyadarshini Park to Bandra will be out in three months,” said Additional Municipal Commissioner Sanjay Mukherjee. Apart from Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearances, the civic body is also awaiting clearances from the Navy as well as the Coast Guard, before actual construction of the coastal road begins.

The current BMC budget has made an allocation of Rs 1,000 crore for the project.
The Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) is yet to give its final nod for the Rs 12,000-crore coastal road project, but the BMC is gearing up to begin work on it and will be rolling out the work tenders for the first phase in three months. Apart from Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearances, the civic body is also awaiting clearances from the Navy as well as the Coast Guard, before actual construction of the coastal road begins.

The current BMC budget has made an allocation of Rs 1,000 crore for the project. The decision to roll out the work tenders was taken after the peer review report on the first phase. It is a detailed study of the project and covers the shortcomings of the consultant’s report. It was submitted on February 17.

“The peer review report for phase 1 of the coastal road project is complete and the tenders for the first phase stretching from Priyadarshini Park to Bandra will be out in three months,” said Additional Municipal Commissioner Sanjay Mukherjee.

Apart from making recommendations on the number of lanes, the report also includes a data analysis for different times of the day.

Source: http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/maharashtra-work-tenders-for-phase-i-of-coastal-road-in-3-months/

February 18, 2016

Global Bitumen Market @ 72 B and is Growing

ALBANY, New YorkFebruary 8, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --
The global bitumen market will expand at a CAGR of 3.90% from 2014 to 2020. The market was valued atUS$71.44 billion in 2013. It is expected to reach US$93.38 billion by the end of 2020, according to a research report released by Transparency Market Research. The report titled "Global Bitumen Market - Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast, 2014 - 2020".
According to the research report, the global bitumen market is primarily driven by the growing rate of use in construction of roadways around the world. The report states that there is a rapid increase in the rate of creation of roadways and other related activities, creating a high demand for the global bitumen market. Polymer modified bitumen, a type of bitumen, is highly preferred due to the advantages it provides, such as high porosity, high skid resistance, and low noise. All three properties are the most sought-after ones in the global roadways industry, giving PMB an advantage over other materials.
The global bitumen market's growth rate is, however, restrained to a high degree by the environmental hazards created by the use of bitumen. The report segments the global bitumen market in terms of products and applications, and also provides a geographical dissection. By products, the global bitumen market was dominated by PMB in 2013. The segment held more than 65% of the market for that year and is expected to be the fastest-growing segment for the report's forecast period. PMB is also used for waterproofing purposes.
The report states that more than 80% of the global bitumen market, from the perspective of applications, was dominated by road construction in 2013. Other applications of bitumen arise in automotive, adhesives, paints and enamels, and the roofing industries. From a geographical point of view, the global bitumen market was led by North America in 2013. North America took up over 30% of the global bitumen market in 2013, a market share attributed to expansion of state infrastructure. However, the report states that the fastest growth rate in the global bitumen market for its given forecast period will be held by the Asia Pacific region owing to rapid rate of industrialization.
The key players of the global bitumen market are Villas Austria GmbH, Valero Energy Corporation, Shell Bitumen, Petroleos Mexicanos, Nynas AB, NuStar Energy, JX Nippon Oil & Energy Corporation, Marathon Oil Company, Indian Oil Corporation, ExxonMobil, China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation ChevronTexaco Corporation, British Petroleum, and Bouygues S.A., The report states that the global bitumen market is highly competitive and fragmented due to the presence of a large number of regional players.
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Key segments of the Global Bitumen Market 
Bitumen Market - Product Segment Analysis 

Bitumen Market - Application Analysis 
Roadways 

Waterproofing (Roofing) 

Adhesive 
Insulation 
Others (including decorative and industrial applications) 
Bitumen Market - Regional Analysis 
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  • China
  • Asia Pacific (Excluding China)
  • Rest of World (RoW)

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