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Bitumen World Gives back to the city

ZIMBABWE’s road network was declared a national disaster back in 2017 with an estimated 80% of our roads in urgent need of repair or resurfacing. As part of the government’s programme to restore Harare’s ageing road infrastructure Bitumen World was engaged to rehabilitate Harare Drive from the intersection with Drew Road up to the intersection with Borrowdale Road. This section was in a particularly bad state of disrepair with plenty of potholes and in addition the road was very narrow with severe drop offs on either side. It’s a particularly busy section of road used by residents of the northern and eastern suburbs and it’s also the main route for heavy vehicles travelling from the industrial area of Msasa to Borrowdale, Pomona and the western suburbs.

The 4,3km section of the road was strengthened, widened from 6 metres (in some areas less) to 10 metres, and surfaced with asphalt. Particular attention paid to adequate rainwater runoff making the road safer and more durable. Bitumen World has a dedicated road marking crew which painted the white centre line and the yellow edge lines. In addition they have supplied reflective cat’s eyes in the centre of the road and on the verges. The lines and the cat’s eyes help to make driving at night much safer, especially where street lights are inadequate or not working at all. Of particular concern for residents and road users along this stretch of road was the four way intersection where Rolfe Avenue and Gaydon Road meet Harare Drive.

Rolfe Avenue and Gaydon Road both had stop signs allowing traffic on Harare Drive to pass through unimpeded while causing long backups on Rolfe and Gaydon especially during peak traffic hours. During the morning and evening rush hours motorists could wait 15 minutes or more to enter or cross over Harare Drive. Lunch time traffic from the nearby St John’s College was also very congested. Newspaper vendors added to the chaos as motorists stopped to buy the daily papers. The intersection was a traffic blackspot with frequent serious accidents often involving late night revellers returning from the Borrowdale nightspots. Mike Garden (editor of Ndeipi magazine and founder/director of the website Bambazonke Nhasi) started the public debate back in 2012 to try to petition City of Harare to install a roundabout at the intersection.

Readers of Bambazonke wrote in to the City of Harare requesting that something should be done to alleviate the situation and eventually the flood of requests from the community was recognized. When the ERRP (Emergency Road Repair Programme) initiated the rehabilitation of that section of Harare Drive, a roundabout was considered and then finally approved earlier this year. Bitumen World seized the opportunity to create a functional, safe and attractive roundabout that far exceeded the mandate from City of Harare and ZINARA. Andre Zietsman, MD of Bitumen World, conceived of a roundabout that would not only help to solve the problem of the traffic flow, it would also be a showpiece to illustrate the best of what >To further enhance the attractiveness of the site Bitumen World has brought in over 200 indigenous fever trees supplied by a donor from Beitbridge. The trees are very hardy and quick growing so when established the effect will be of a small natural forest. Terri Parham from Alfresco Landscaping is supplying mondo grass and succulents which are low maintenance. But perhaps the most attractive feature is the twelve huge elephant tusks which were inspired by the Durban pier. The tusks are steel and fibreglass manufactured by Premier Products – fibreglass specialists from Bulawayo. Each of the 12 tusks has a blue LED light attached which shines down onto the centre and there are an additional twelve blue LEDS which shine upward to illuminate the centre retaining wall. The solar lights were donated by Lighting World who also supplied four solar powered amber traffic warning lights, one on each approach to the roundabout. All of the extra additional decorative elements and the landscaping that make the roundabout so special were donated by Bitumen World to the residents of Harare. Bitumen World was incorporated in Bulawayo in July 2012 with the aim of providing public and private sector clients with quality, cost effective, safe and environmentally sound specialist blacktop surfacing solutions.

Although a relatively new company the Directors and Management, together, have in excess of 150 years experience in the construction industry of which 120 years is in the blacktop field. Bitumen World has developed the largest road reconstruction capacity in Zimbabwe in the form of three Bomag reclaimers and all the auxiliary compaction equipment required to achieve the cement stabilised monolithic base layers now favoured in road reconstruction contracts. Backing up the reclaimer teams are four bitumen sprayers with the attendant chip spreading capacity, an 80 tonne/hr asphalt plant and two asphalt pavers.

The haulage fleet consists of 32 tipper trucks and 6 double trailer side tippers suitable for long haulage. Having been certified by the Standards Association of Zimbabwe as being ISO9001 compliant in 2017, Bitumen World has earned a reputation in the marketplace for quality work, completed safely, on time and within budget. Undoubtedly Bitumen World is well positioned to fulfil the 100 day programme set by the His Excellency, President E.D Mnangagwa and the Honourable Minister of Transport, Mr. J. Matiza.

Other recent projects successfully completed by Bitumen World include:

  • West Road Rehabilitation (Harare)
  • Chinhoyi Road Rehabilitation
  • Zvishavane Road Upgrading
  • Bindura to Muchapondwa Road Rehabilitation
  • Mbare Urban Road
  • Highfield Roads rehabilitation and Mababasa Growth Point Access Road
  • Bulawayo City Roads Future proposed projects include a similar, though larger, roundabout on Gleneagles Road near the new Aspindale Park and the reconstruction of Harare Drive between Lomagundi and Kirkman Roads.

Bitumen World attributes the success of this, and all their projects, to the dedication and hard work of their whole team. Let’s hope their gift to the City of this outstanding project inspires other companies and individuals to contribute towards turning Harare into a world class destination and a better place to live for all.

Text by Michael Nott Photos by Ronald Mazhindu Renderings, Plans and Additional Photos courtesy of Bitumen World

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