Bakwena signed the Concession Contract to design, build, finance, operate and maintain the Bakwena N1 and N4 freeways on 4 October 2000 and the contract started on 28 August 2001.
During the first four years of the concession, Bakwena was required to undertake a series of initial construction works that included upgrading of the existing roads and the construction of two new sections of the N4. The cost of the initial construction works was approximately R2,6 billion.
- Bakwena was the first company in South Africa to offer a system of Electronic Tolls Collection (ETC) which works by means of e-tags and successfully implemented ETC using e-tags with the same basic technology as the Open Road Tolling system (ORT) that is being implemented on the Gauteng freeways. The e-tag is an electronic device which is attached to the windscreen of the vehicle and enables the road user to proceed through a designated e-tag lane without having to stop. The e-tag is read by an antenna in the plaza and the boom opens automatically. Motorists then receive their e-tag bill at month-end either via their credit card, garage card or fleet card statements.
- Bakwena successfully refinanced the debt of the Bakwena N1N4 Toll Road Project to the value of R3.7 billion in 2009, the largest refinancing of an infrastructure project ever in South Africa. The funds were used to re-finance existing debt on more attractive terms which reflected the successful operation of the project. The refinancing was done through the collaborative efforts of Bakwena, its shareholders, the South African National Roads Agency Limited (“SANRAL”), the Company’s lenders and transaction advisors.
- Bakwena currently operates two traffic control centres on behalf of SANRAL to ensure that vehicles using the roads are not over-loaded and are road worthy, namely the Mantsole Traffic Control Centre (MTCC) and Bapong Traffic Control Centre (BTTC). The Mantsole Traffic Control Centre is the flagship of traffic control centres in South Africa and controls truck loading on the N1 and R101 to reduce wear and tear on the road and the potential for accidents due to overloading. Based on Bakwena’s success in managing the MTCC, SANRAL contracted Bakwena to carry out the same function at the BTCC on the N4.
- Bakwena has built dual carriageways in various areas along the route due to an increase in traffic to ensure a better flow of traffic that reduces travelling time.
- Bakwena sponsored the research and publication of ‘The Platinum Road Book’ which was written by Peter Delmar to add value to the driving experiences of customers who use the Bakwena roads, contribute to the dissemination of knowledge and increase the appreciation of very important parts of South Africa’s heritage. Since its launch in 2013, and in response to the positive feedback received on the book, Bakwena extended a further sponsorship for ‘The Platinum Road’ book to be developed into a mobile app. The app works using the GPS location of the device that the traveller is using. Based on the location of the traveller, the app will automatically start telling the anecdotal stories of certain points along the N1 and N4 as the traveller approaches them.