Youssef Ouchagour, construction industry analyst at Timetric’s Construction Intelligence Center, looks at some of China’s leading contractors, and projects that they are undertaking in Africa.
“The size of this project is remarkable — the viaduct is one of the largest in the world,” says Olivier Tricoire, Nouvelle Route du Littoral deputy director of operations. The ‘Nouvelle Route du Littoral’ is currently under construction in Réunion Island’s — a French department — Indian Ocean and is set to be one of the biggest projects ever undertaken by the French government. The 12.5km highway, parallel to the coast, will connect Saint Dennis with La Grande Chaloupe and replace the existing coastal road between Saint Dennis and La Possession. The existing road is exposed to sea spray when there’s heavy swell — frequently occurring due to the absence of a continental plateau — and to the falling of rocks. The 80,000 people who frequently use the road are often stuck in traffic jams, as the authorities have to close one or two lanes for a period of two months to a year. The new coastal highway will eliminate these issues, as it will be 20-30m above sea level — expected to be above the highest waves of the biggest storms. The €1.7bn development has been awarded to two joint ventures. The construction of the 5.4km viaduct section — €715M of works — is under the responsibility of the viaduct joint venture, which comprises Vinci Construction Grands Projects, Dodin Campenon Bernard, Bouygues Travaux Publics and Demathieu Bard. The second contract, worth €530M, has been awarded to a joint venture of Vinci Construction Terrassement and local companies SBTPC and Grands Travaux de l’Océan Indien, which will be responsible for the 6.7km of embankments and La Possession interchange. The dual carriageway will have two lanes in each direction, and has been designed to accommodate a rail line later on. Tricoire says: “The Regional council chose to not increase the personal vehicle capacity and instead to promote collective transport. The project includes lanes only for bus — and later tramway — and also pedestrian and bicycle ways.”