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Sika products upgraded Omaruru River bridge


When we think of Namibia, most of us will conjure thoughts of hot, dry desert rock, blanketed seasonally by a blast of beautiful flowers. Henties Bay and Swakopmund are two coastal towns that attract a lot of local and international traffic – so their local infrastructure is vital. The Omaruru River bridge was constructed in 1980 and by 1992 comprehensive concrete repairs had to be conducted. 23 years later, due to excessive salt ingress and exposure to the harsh corrosive environment, its structural integrity was compromised to the extent that it necessitated a solution. Between June and August of 2021, Sika Nambia Country Manager, Andre Visser consulted with contractors, Actual Impact Group cc, on the supply of products to upgrade and rehabilitate the Omaruru River bridge, in Henties Bay, and the rail overpass bridge in Swakopmund, both on the MR44.

Bridge revamp

The project kicked off with major demolition and clearing works conducted by the main contractor. Given the strict project timelines, the 80km distance apart and the need to run concurrently, time proved to be the major challenge to the successful delivery of both projects. Anyone familiar with the skeleton coast and Namibia Desert will know that – with any application process – weather will be the major deciding factor of project success. Having to endure dust storms, mist, rain and wind gusts in excess of 60km/h, our dedicated teams worked around the clock to ensure that the necessary quality and completion targets were achieved.

Once the preparation and concrete work – such as piers and abutments – was complete on the sites, Actual Impact Group cc was appointed to supply and install a wide range of products, and to assist with technical advisory services for the duration. While both projects had one or two unique repairs, the range of products and their uses were similar. Sika supplied all the specialist construction chemicals and materials (Epoxy/cementitious Grouts, Wet/Dry epoxy, curing agents, shutter release agents).

Initial bridge repair work was attained with SikaGrout®-212, an easy to use, single component, high strength, shrinkage compensated cementitious grout; and Sika MonoTop®-412 NFG. On both projects, Sikalastic®-152 was applied to all exposed concrete components, which totalled around 4450m2. Sikalastic®-152 is a 2-part, cementitious, polymer modified, flexible, crack-bridging, fibre-reinforced mortar for waterproofing and concrete protection, and can be applied to various types of construction substrates. The expansion joints on both bridges were sealed with Sikadur-Combiflex® SG system.

Both Sikadur®-42 ZA and Sikadur®-43 ZA were used under the bridge bearing pads on both sites. The former is a 3-part, moisture tolerant, multi-purpose epoxy grouting system, and the latter a solvent-free, three-component, repair and filling mortar based on a combination of epoxy resins and selected high strength aggregates. After mixing, it forms a trowel-able mortar with good adhesion to cementitious substrates.

worker touching up concrete bridge

About 480 m² of bridge deck and approach slabs at the Swakopmund site, had SikaBit® Pro P40 PE applied. It is an APP modified, bituminous, torch-applied, waterproofing membrane. SikaBit® PRO P-40-0 PE is reinforced with a dimensionally stable non-woven polyester inlay. The underside has a thin polyethylene burn-off film for effortless application. It can be applied to wood, metal and concrete substrates including over existing bitumen roofing membranes.

Sikaflex®-11 FC+, a 1-part, multipurpose elastic adhesive and joint sealant with particularly good application properties, and which bonds and seals most construction material substrates, was used on the bridge parapet joints at both sites.

On the general concrete work, Sika AnchorFix®-2+; a solvent-free, two-component anchoring adhesive, was used to anchor the concrete balustrades on the bridges. Sika® Antisol® E was used as a concrete curing agent – it is a ready to use spray applied liquid wax emulsion that prevents water loss from the surface of freshly placed concrete. It forms a thin film barrier on the concrete without affecting the normal setting action.

The rehabilitation of the MR44 Omaruru River Bridge and Swakopmund Road over Rail Bridge was named the SANRAL SAICE 2022 National Award Winner for: Most outstanding Civil Engineering Project – International Category; and were also featured in the SAICE Civil Engineering Magazine (Vol 30) March 2022. “We received exceptional service from Andre and his team at Sika Namibia and managed to successfully complete a flagship project with outstanding results – never a bridge too far for Sika.” Eugene Gouws, Project Manager at Actual Impact Group cc.

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