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    Tuesday, 12 May 2020

    Bitumen uses satellite controlled graders to refurbish Harare – Beitbridge Rd

    Joel Biggie Matiza.
    Caroline Phiri
    BEITBRIDGE – Bitumen World is using hi-tech equipment including graders which are monitored and controlled by satellites to refurbish and expand sections of the Harare – Beitbridge Highway, the Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Development, Joel Biggie Matiza has been told.
    This is the first time that such technology has been used on a Zimbabwean road.
    Paradzai Mukombe who took the Minister on a tour of a 20km stretch of the road that Bitumen is refurbishing at Bubi, some 80km from Beitbridge promised a world class road on completion of the project.
    Bitumen is one of the several companies contracted by Government to refurbish and expand the Highway. The companies were each given a 20km stretch to work on and Bitumen has two 20km stretches which means it will refurbish a total of 40km.
    The company has since completed a detour that is currently being used by traffic. It has also dismantled the old road, removed the rubble and has leveled it off, ready to tar the road again.
    The Minister who also had journalists from various media houses on the tour was told that work on the stretch will be completed and the road will be ready for use by August 2020.
    “We are using graders which are automatically monitored and controlled by satellites. This cuts off a lot of work and human intervention which means it speeds up work.
    “We decided to deploy technology so that everything moves at the same pace and this is the first project in this country where we deployed satellite technology.
    "I am assuring you that at the end of this project, you are going to see a first class road in this stretch and it will be safe, stronger and smooth to ride on," said Mukombe.
    After the refurbishment the road’s width will be extended from 7 meters to 12.5 meters. The cost of rehabilitation of the road is US$700 000 per km and its lifespan will be 20 years.
    The company also said that it is ready to work on more stretches if Government decides to give it more work.
    Bitumen World executive chairman, Andre Zietsman said that the equipment used on the rehabilitation cost his company US$15m. He said his company has resources and skills and can do with another contract of 40km to make the total 80.
    Site manager, Bigboy Sibindi said that they commenced work at the end of 2019 and their first task was to construct a detour. This was commissioned and at the end of April, they had completed earth works, and they are now doing pavement layers and have started their cement stabilisation.
    He also added that in the next two weeks, they will be doing the base, starting assifult surfacing works and they expect to have surfaced the section by mid- August where the first 5 km will be surfaced in the next 4 weeks. 
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