The road to Ouagadougu in Burkina Faso

Topcon technology has helped improve the link between Burkina Faso’s capital, Ouagadougu, and six neighbouring countries
Connected Construction / November 12, 2021
Use of the Topcon machine control technology has made road improvement work in Burkina Faso more efficient and productive
Use of the Topcon machine control technology has made road improvement work in Burkina Faso more efficient and productive

Tansoba Boulevard is the busiest road in Ouagadougou in West Africa. The south-eastern bypass is a key interconnection corridor, not only connecting the city with the rest of the landlocked country, but also linking six border countries – Mali, Niger, Benin, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana and Togo.

The 7km road is a major piece of West African infrastructure and one that recently required vast improvements. When dealing with a stretch of land this busy, however, it is not feasible to stop traffic to begin construction; this was not an option. To deal with the challenges, contractors Sogea-Satom and Dai Nippon Construction turned to Topcon Positioning and its advanced machine control technology.

Arnaud Parvillé, head of topography, Sogea-Satom, explained: “We needed to work with a partner that understood the importance of productivity and profitability when it comes to improving transport infrastructure. It was vital that this project was completed on time and in budget, so the guarantee of speed, efficiency and accuracy were key drivers in the procurement process. Topcon’s solution ticked every box for us.”

Valued at 30 milliard FCFA and awarded by Burkina Faso’s Ministry of Infrastructure, the scheme’s overall objective was to renovate and widen the road, creating a new system that could withstand the demand of being such a vital thoroughfare for both drivers and pedestrians. This in turn will help to boost business, accessibility and the overall economy of Ouagadougou for generations to come.

Work started in 2019 and is due to be complete in November 2021. The project included work on two 10.5m-wide roadways (including two 3.5m cycle lanes), the construction of 2.5m-wide sidewalks and two pedestrian footbridges, in addition to the construction of 13km of drainage.

The Topcon systems were easy to install and commission
The Topcon systems were easy to install and commission

“This is a hugely significant project,” said Gael Basseville, business development manager at Topcon Positioning EMEA. “Not only for the people of Ouagadougou and Burkina Faso, but also those who inhabit its neighbouring countries. The ability to safely travel between borders is essential and a vital part of the wider development of the continent. Only new technology would enable the project to be carried out successfully, efficiently and with minimal disruption.”

Topcon’s 3D-MC² grader was employed to finish the road’s sub-layer. The system was used with the Sogea-Satom Caterpillar 140K grader, supplied by partner Smartfleet. Equipped with the latest GPS technology and 3D machine guidance, the solution ensures a fast and precise grade, as well as making the road much smoother overall and increasing safety standards on the busy stretch of highway.

The 3D-MC² grader was highly suitable for the Tansoba Boulevard project, as the technology allowed teams to conduct precise grading work, even in critical and precarious applications, as the machinery can still grade accurately onsite. This means the 3D-MC² suits use on roads that may be in a state of disrepair or need an extensive overhaul, as a lot of the tricky precision is handled by the machine control elements. By having such an effective grading process, teams ensure the paving that follows is accurate and has the best possible results with a completely smooth finish.

Gael continued: “So much time and money goes into the research and design of schemes like this and it’s absolutely crucial that they begin with solid foundations. Sub-layers are so important, particularly on surfaces that endure so much traffic.”

While external support was appointed to Topcon and Smartfleet, Sogea-Satom and Dai Nippon Construction, this was a community-anchored project, with 95% of the employees being recruited locally. Furthermore, the main supplies used, such as aggregates and asphalt mixes, were also obtained and manufactured within the region, helping to further drive forward economic growth for locality.

For more information on companies in this article