Innocent Ruwende Municipal Reporter
Two local cement companies have agreed to provide Harare City Council with support and technical assistance in its quest to introduce concrete roads.
Council intends to shift from traditional asphalt roads.
It argues cement roads are durable. In a report to council’s Environment Management Committee, the city’s works director Engineer Philip Pfukwa said Lafarge Cement and PPC pledged to second engineers and to offer technical expertise.
“Discussions have been held with Lafarge and PPC at both policy and technical levels. They both have expressed willingness to provide technical assistance, support and exposure with their experienced engineers,” reads the report.
“There are a number of locally available equipment for use in handling the operations in cement-concrete roads.”
Eng Pfukwa said the first documented concrete road was made in Ohio, United States of America, in 1891 and one hundred years later sections of the road were still in use.
He said asphalt, a product of the coal cooking process and fractional distillation of crude oil, is wholly imported in Zimbabwe while cement was locally available. Asphalt has not been locally produced since the decommissioning of coke ovens at Hwange Colliery Company.
“Along the Mvuma-Gweru road, trial sections were done in concrete in 1985 and they are still structurally sound with minimum maintenance on expansion joint. In Harare, a concrete pavement was laid, servicing Long Cheng Plaza. Prior to this, the site was problematic requiring continuous repairs and maintenance, but it is now virtually maintenance free,” reads the report.
“Concrete pavements have a longer life expectance and have minimal maintenance requirements. Concrete pavements have a higher initial cost but have a long life upwards to 40 years, whereas asphalt pavements are designed for a maximum 20 years.”
Eng Pfukwa said a vehicle on a concrete pavement consumes 15 to 20 percent less fuel than when on asphalt pavements. He said concrete pavements do not get deflected under the wheels of loaded vehicles unlike asphalt roads.
They also do not get damaged by leaking fuel or oils from vehicles or extreme weather conditions like rain or excess heat. Harare intends to introduce concrete roads, departing from the traditional asphalt roads with a pilot project set for Arcturus Road. Harare City Council has over the years been criticised for failure to repair potholes that endanger the lives of road users.