Brand-new Caterpillar construction machinery from Barloworld Equipment has been deployed by the Motheo Construction Group’s civils division on a R500 million contract to upgrade and rehabilitate a 40 km section of the N4 from Belfast to Machadadorp in Mpumalanga.
The civils division is undertaking the flagship road project for main client TRAC in conjunction with WBHO, its Voluntary Rebuilding Programme (VRP) partner. The Motheo Construction Group is one of three major black-owned contractors to have signed the VRP development agreement with WBHO.
The new equipment, acquired specifically for this contract, comprises a Cat 140K motor grader, a Cat CS533E rotary roller, and a Cat 323 excavator, explains Junithan Moodley, Operations Director of the Motheo Construction Group’s civils division.
A high resale value, combined with ready spares availability and excellent aftermarket support from Barloworld Equipment, made the decision to procure Caterpillar machinery a no-brainer, according to Archie Rutherford, CEO of the Motheo Construction Group’s civils division.
The machinery will be on-site for about two-and-a-half years, hence the requirement for reliability and lowest total cost of ownership. “The main benefit of acquiring new plant is that we are not reliant solely on plant hire companies, and the attendant currency fluctuations. In addition, a major advantage for our main client is that we are able to deploy our own operators, who have all been tested and approved by ourselves,” Rutherford comments.
Skilled operators are crucial to a major road contract such as this, especially with regard to the final level of the road surface. “Construction and earthworks projects are all about productivity at the end of the day. A simple recipe for maximum productivity is combining reliable plant with skilled operators,” Rutherford stresses.
The scope of work on the N4 project encompasses two new bridges, an extension to an existing bridge, three culvert extensions, and a new underpass. Construction commenced in April, following extensive engagement with the local community. “Balancing the interests of the local community with the requirements of the project itself was a critical concern even before we commenced with the project,” Moodley stresses.
He concludes that this project represents a “massive expansion” of the capabilities of the Motheo Construction Group’s Civils Division. “This is the first time we will be constructing major structures such as bridges and culverts, which opens up an entire new opportunity for us in the industry.”