Standard Concrete Case Study

Standard Concrete Case Study


Lafarge’s key role in KwaZulu-Natal’s impressive road infrastructure projects

Travel on KwaZulu-Natal’s N2 Freeway major coastal route has been transformed in recent years with the construction of a series of impressive upgrading and interchange projects, some aptly described as engineering marvels.


Proud to have played a key material-supplier role in many of these projects, Lafarge South Africa continually adapts to better serve customers and their worksites with tailor-made integrated solutions for major projects. As a member of the international LafargeHolcim group, a world leader in building materials, the local company has access to unique global resources, innovative technology and experience, enabling it to contribute to the success of infrastructure development programmes.


The holistic approach adopted by Lafarge has meant that contractors benefit from having the support of the widest range of building materials and services delivered under one name, signature and management. “The typical arrangement of multiple suppliers and its frequent blurring of responsibility can be avoided with a more efficient site supply management structure,” says Mike Fisher, Head of Infrastructure at Lafarge South Africa. “This also minimises the risk of major supply errors in the structuring of large projects, which are often the cause of project delays and penalties.”


Some examples of Lafarge’s involvement in KZN freeway upgrading projects are:


Umgeni Road interchange

The construction of the major Umgeni Road interchange straddling the N2 Freeway in Durban features two incrementally launched bridges crossing over each other. The project was the winner in its category of the 2015 prestigious Fulton Award for excellence in civil engineering.



The award-winning Umgeni Road interchange.


Consistent high quality of materials was a key requirement. Offering a unique integrated offer with guarantees on quality and availability, Lafarge South Africa was the single source for all main construction products and, in particular, supplied a wide range of quality concrete grades. All together, the company’s KZN Readymix team provided 29 720 m³ of ready-mixed concrete embracing grades ranging from 15 MPa for blinding to 50 MPa for structural, as well as a special rapid strength-gain grade (35 MPa in 36 hours) for incremental launch elements; the company also supplied fly ash and aggregates for concrete, and gave access to technical backup and laboratory services as required.


Eteza diamond interchange                                                                                                 

The construction of an overload control facility and a full diamond interchange at Eteza on the N2 in northern KwaZulu-Natal raised two main concrete challenges. The first was how to place the Continuous Reinforced Concrete Pavement (CRCP) efficiently when the closest commercial ready-mixed concrete operation was 45 km from the site. The second reflected the problem of controlling the Heat of Hydration (HOH) in mass pours given the hot humid conditions.  

Lafarge addressed these challenges with its innovative, integrated service package which included the supply of all main building materials, the erection of a mobile concrete batching plant on site to supply the CRCP, as well as the requirements for conventionally vibrated concrete. HOH concerns were alleviated by using the unique Lafarge low-heat cement, Powercrete Plus CEM II 42,5 R.


The package also included Lafarge RoadCem CEM II 32,5N, at the time, the country’s first specialised cementitious road binder; the supply of 165 000 t of aggregates, and 1000 t of fly ash, as well as an on-site laboratory.


N2 Mtunzini to Empangeni

Started in 2016 and now close to the expected completion in June 2019, the upgrade of 35 km of the N2 Freeway between Mtunzini and Empangeni is one of the biggest road infrastructure developments undertaken in KwaZulu-Natal. Designed to accommodate the growth in traffic volumes, the old route is being transformed into a far safer 14-metre-wide dual carriage highway.


The entire aggregate order, together with the cement order for the stabilised base, was secured with a unique offer. Lafarge South Africa’s good understanding of the project requirements enabled them to succeed against nearby competition and take the order for base material including clear sizes, unclassified fill material and granulars. Being able to meet the tight road stone specs also secured Lafarge the main contractor’s requirement for aggregates. To date, Lafarge has supplied a total of 517 000 t aggregates and over 20 000 t of various grades of cement.

“The development of the N2 in the Province over the last few years has been nothing short of spectacular. We take pride in offering our customers better value and integrated solutions infrastructure development based on our unique range of innovative products and services,” says Lafarge’s Fisher.