AfriSam Geard up for Better Year in Roadwork

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With some important road contracts secured for 2021, AfriSam is well placed to bring more capacity on stream as and when there is an upswing in South Africa’s road building sector.

This is according to AfriSam’s Construction Materials Executive, Avi Bhoora, who says the company will be supplying construction material to the significant road upgrade from Lynnfield Park to Dardanelles, south of Pietermaritzburg.

“The construction materials market is now only about a third of its 2012 level, when road building in the country was at its peak,” says Bhoora. “The whole construction sector is looking forward to the release of more road upgrade projects this year, especially on the N2 and N3 national highways.”

He says there are nine work packages expected to be released by the road authority, which could together add up to about R40 billion in contract values. AfriSam has recently been active in the Watt Street Interchange Project in Wynberg near Sandton, where it provided almost 9,000 m3 of readymix for concrete works. This contract included two large, challenging concrete pours of over 550 m3 each.

It has also been busy in KwaZulu-Natal, including a bridge upgrade in the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project at Inanda Road and interchange upgrades in Westville, Richmond Road and Camperdown.

AfriSam’s strategy for the future includes gearing up for more rural work, in addition to its traditional focus on urban centers.

“This means becoming more flexible and mobile in our operations,” he says, “such as converting equipment to a modular format that can be readily moved to and operated from outlying areas.”

Bhoora notes that roadbuilders who are concerned about their carbon footprint will priorities having a commercial supply of construction material as close to the road project as possible. This will reduce emissions from the trucks transporting the material. With AfriSam’s commitment to quality and environmental management, he emphasizes that customers can always be assured that their construction material will be compliant and to specification – irrespective of location.

“Road contractors look to AfriSam for solutions to two important aspects of achieving a quality road: modification and stabilization,” says Bhoora. “When contractors must deal with lower quality material on site – with high clay content and plasticity index (PI) – this generally needs to be modified with the use of lime.”

This means that higher quality – or ‘bluer’ materials from the underlying rock layers rather than from the overburden – may require additional strengthening through stabilization. AfriSam’s Roadstab cement is a popular solution, with its 32.5 classification in terms of the SANS 50917-1 standard. It is manufactured at the company’s Dudfield and Ulco factories.