Building better connections: Lafarge solutions for road infrastructure


Lafarge South Africa, subsidiary of the international Lafarge Group, a world leader in building materials, uses its technical strength to provide innovative products and services for customers engaged in bitumen and concrete road construction.

While the realities of budgeting for the lower initial capital outlay of bitumen road paving have to be acknowledged, significant sustainability benefits of concrete pavements are evident when a comprehensive life-cycle and carbon footprint assessment is carried out. A concrete pavement is the most sustainable solution because of its long service life and relatively low maintenance and repair requirement.  This results in long-term savings in raw materials, transport and energy.


Lafarge products used extensively for soil stabilisation are the specialised cementitious binder, RoadCem, and the general purpose cement, Buildcrete, which are contributing to the stability and longevity of bitumen road surfaces. The products are backed by a spreading service and the highly regarded technical resources of the Johannesburg-based, Lafarge Quality Department Southern Africa (QDSA).


The company's market-leading Readymix concrete business can also supply any specification of concrete required for construction of road paving and the associated infrastructure. Two Lafarge products that are commonly used for readymix production are the premium technical cement Powercrete Plus 42,5R and the unique high early strength cement Rapidcem CEM II 52,5N.


Roadbinder solutions

The specialised roadbinder cement RoadCem is particularly suitable for:

  • Stabilisation of road base, sub-base and sub-grade materials
  • Soils with either low or moderate plasticity - especially granular type materials with a lower PI
  • In situ (including deep lift) stabilisation or pugmill blending

Developed in cooperation with road construction contractors to provide the first product on the local market to be designed specifically to meet their needs, RoadCem has been extremely successful.  One of Lafarge's complete range of lower-carbon footprint cements, RoadCem is a CEM II 32,5N product formulated from Portland cement, siliceous fly ash (fly ash) and blast furnace slag (slag). The product modifies clay minerals and achieves increased soil strength and bearing capacity, better volume stability by controlling the swell and shrinkage characteristics caused by moisture changes. This also enhances resistance to erosion, weathering or traffic loading.


Some recent Lafarge contracts for soil stabilisation on major road refurbishment and upgrading projects are:

  • R504 between Schweizer-Renecke and Wolmaransstad
  • N11 at Hendrina
  • N14 to Lichtenburg
  • 46km of the N8 between Ladybrand and Tweespruit in the Free State
  • Sections 2 and 3 of the Bakwena N4 Toll Road Upgrade between Brits and Rustenburg


Concrete solutions

Examples of recent major concrete supply contracts in the road construction sector are:

  • Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project - Package D1 - N1 Freeway upgrade between Rigel and John Vorster interchanges
  • R300 Extension/N21 Cape Town
  • N1 section 14 from Fonteintjie to Wirasoord - a 52 km road upgrade and 90 metre bridge construction


Looking to the future

Looking to the future, the concrete study that is showing exceptional promise is the use of ultra-thin, high-strength overlays which have an extended life expectancy of about forty years. It requires resurfacing only once or twice in its lifetime, whereas a typical asphalt road needs a strict maintenance programme to keep it in good condition, starting within two years of placement.


Lafarge supplied its innovative high early strength CEM II product Rapidcem (the first and currently still the only locally produced CEM II 52,5N available to the industry) for the pioneering Ultra Thin Continuously Reinforced Concrete Paving (UTCRCP) project to upgrade the Section 19 of the N12 freeway.


Cement sold in South Africa must comply with SANS/EN 50197-1. "In the absence of a specific local standard for road stabilisation, compliance with the European Standard (ENV 13282) is recommended," advises Lafarge's Dr Reinhold Amtsbüchler, Professional Engineer and Manager of QDSA. (QDSA operates one of the largest SANAS accredited civil engineering testing facilities in South Africa.  Complying with ISO/IEC 17025, the facility has a seventeen-year track record of continuous accreditation.) 


All-round Lafarge support

The upgrading of the N12 freeway between the R21 and Daveyton is an example of the all-round support provided by Lafarge's innovative products: Rapidcem CEM II 52,5N is being used in the UTCRCP, Powercrete Plus 42,5R is being supplied for the Continuously Reinforced Concrete Pavement (CRCP) sections, and stabilisation of the sub-base incorporates RoadCem.


The role of bitumen and concrete

In the South African context of an urgent need for road infrastructure refurbishment and development, Lafarge recognises that there is a place for both forms of road paving. The company will continue to apply its unequalled technical resources to develop innovative solutions for transport infrastructure construction.









 About Lafarge

Located in 64 countries with 65 000 employees, Lafarge is a world-leader in building materials, with top-ranking positions in its Cement, Aggregates & Concrete businesses. In 2012, the Group posted sales of 15,8 billion Euros.


Since 2010, the Lafarge Group has been part of the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index, the first global sustainability benchmark, in recognition of its sustainable development actions. With the world's leading building materials research facility, Lafarge places innovation at the heart of its priorities, working for sustainable construction and architectural creativity.

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For further information, please contact:


Charlene Lamb

Country Communications Manager

Lafarge South Africa



Issued by:

Bridget von Holdt

Inzalo Communication

Tel: 011 646-9992 / 082 6100650