GEOTECH - Vital for Urban Planning

Geotechnical Information is very important for urban planning. This therefore calls for improved collaboration by urban planners and geotechnical engineers/geologists. This collaboration has tremendous potential to improve the quality and reduce the cost and impact of new infrastructure developments.

This was revealed by Mr. Koketso Gabriel Botepe, BGI Manger Applied Geoscience at the presentation during Palapye Sub-District Council meeting recently in Palapye. This is part of stakeholder engagements to create awareness, solicit buy in, and support for the Palapye Geotechnical Mapping Project. The project entails identification and assessment of potential and natural constraints as they impact on development and infrastructure provision for future land use planning. The project will also provide information on the physical attributes of future growth areas of development plan for utilization by land users.

Palapye sub-district will benefit immensely from this project in view of the accelerated infrastructure development in the Palapye area, Central District of Botswana.

Mr Botepe further indicated that Geological / Geotechnical data is paramount in pre-construction site investigation for decision-making and structural design considerations. Such information will also help in determining the suitability of terrain for construction of different types of structures, and curb post-construction problems, such as those seen at the Serowe Sports Complex, Francistown Gerald estates, Lobatse, to mention but a few.

He also noted that, infrastructure planning is indeed a difficult job, having to map out the future needs of communities and provide the best possible environment in which to live and work. Geotechnical issues appear well down on the list of planning considerations and are often poorly understood, yet they can have huge impact on development feasibility and costs. However, with BGI and under its mandate, Geotechnical assessments have been prioritised and all are encouraged to utilise such information at all times in preliminary site investigations for general guidance on ground conditions.

This project commenced this year (2018) and is planned to conclude in 2020. This initiative should set the tone for future developers and structural designers to ensure such considerations are taken to avoid having to do damage control and prodigious unplanned costs.