April 10, 2019
Constant Exposure Demands Constant Protection for Western Cape Bridge
Renovation of the Gouda-Klein-Bergrivier Bridge in South Africa was completed in April 2019, just before the onset of winter weather in the Western Cape province. PENETRON ADMIX ensured permanent protection for the bridge against concrete deterioration.
The Western Cape Government Department of Transport and Public Works commissioned the repair and renovation of the Gouda-Klein-Bergrivier Bridge on Route 44, just north of the town of Gouda in the Western Cape. The R 180 million (US$ 15 million) project is part of a bigger public works program to upgrade and widen the existing road, a well-traveled route that links the agricultural towns of Gouda, Saron, and Porterville. It also links a great part of the Western Cape province with the Northern Cape province and right up to the neighboring country of Namibia.
“Unlike a lot of other structures that our team is involved with, bridges demand special know-how and attention to detail,” explains Mark Courtney, Managing Director of Penetron South Africa. "The specifications for this bridge did not expressly specify waterproofing. Rather, because the bridge’s concrete structures are constantly exposed to weathering, the issue of enhanced durability was of great importance to the project engineers at AECOM.”
Due to this constant exposure, the reduction of concrete permeability – to prevent moisture and waterborne chemicals from penetrating into the matrix – is the primary goal of treating concrete. Any moisture penetration – and the resulting corrosion of the underlying reinforcement steel – can quickly compromise the structural integrity of a bridge lacking effective protection.
“The crystalline technology contained in PENETRON ADMIX has been successfully implemented in the construction and renovation of countless bridges around the world, and many of them are located in much more severe climates than what the farmers in Western Cape are used to,” adds Mark Courtney.
The renewed Gouda-Klein-Bergrivier Bridge is 66 m long x 12 m wide (218 x 40 feet), large enough to accommodate traffic in both directions. Afrimat Ready-Mix added PENETRON ADMIX to the concrete mix during batching. The treated concrete was used for all concrete elements of the bridge exposed to the weather – and any moisture from the Klein-Bergrivier that passes underneath.
“Because the crystalline network unleashed by PENETRON ADMIX is now an integral part of the concrete, it is permanently protected against concrete deterioration caused by chemical attack, freeze-thaw cycles and corrosion,” concludes Mark Courtney. “Baseline Civil Contractors were looking for a solution that provided total concrete protection against the constant exposure endured by Gouda Klein-Bergrivier Bridge. Penetron was chosen as the ideal solution and can add up to 60 years to the lifespan of the bridge.”