Construction of the Garden Route Dam spillway is expected to commence in May 2019, depending on the finalisation of all contractual documentation.
George Municipal Manager Trevor Botha said the municipality was cautiously optimistic that, following a more than ten-year process, the raising of the dam would finally commence. “Statutory approvals and contractual processes are in the process of being finalised but the municipality can confirm that local company, Khubeka Construction, has been awarded the contract. Once completed, the dam’s full supply level will effectively be raised by 2.5 metres, which will increase the total storage capacity of the dam by approximately 25%.
“While we are very excited about the long-term benefits, the temporary impact on citizen’s access to the dam will be affected. We appeal in advance to all hikers, cyclists and everyone else who uses the space around the dam, to please stay away during construction. The site will be active on many fronts, with major construction and other equipment that can be potentially very dangerous. Signage and communication in this regard will soon commence. The municipality thanks the public in advance for cooperation in this regard,” said Mr Botha.
The construction activity period is expected to be eight months from time of commencement.
A professional dam engineer registered with the Department: Water and Sanitation (DWS) for a Category III dam will oversee the construction works. All designs for the works have been approved by the DWS’s Dam Safety Office.
Once the contractor is on site (within the next few weeks) the Garden Route Dam area will be considered a construction site, at which time the Contractors Health and Safety Plan takes immediate effect. All residents and especially visitors to the area surrounding the dam wall (hikers, runners, cyclists, anglers and day visitors) will not be allowed entry to the dam area due to safety measures.
There will be numerous heavy construction vehicles that will be active around the dam as well as large material delivery vehicles. At the same time bush-clearing along the entire dam flood line will be done and plant debris will be carted to various stockpile areas for further processing. These activities present a considerable safety risk to the public, and the area will be closed to the public. Ongoing safety risk revues will be carried out and areas will be opened to public access only if it is considered safe for general access.
Special care should also be taken when using the roads surrounding the dam area as large earth-moving machinery and delivery vehicles will be active on the surrounding roads.
The earth-moving plant and equipment will be stored on site but must commute from the MTO side of the dam to the municipal side each night as a safety precaution and these vehicles will be using the surrounding roads. It is expected that over 3000 heavy vehicle trips will be made in the dam area. These vehicles will use the narrow MTO access roads that have tight bends and cyclists and hikers are at extreme risk.
If possible, the area will be made accessible during the 2019/20 December-January holiday period, but this will depend entirely on the safety of the site and the progress of the works being constructed.