Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Where the Streets Have No Names (sort of)

It is a long-standing joke in Bulembu that you can always tell who’s driving drunk along the road because they drive straight, where as anyone in their right mind drives in erratic, seemingly reckless zigzags because the roads are riddled with potholes. But with the recent arrival of the G & J Paving team from Edmonton, Canada, work has begun on restoring the roads after over 20 years of neglect and potholes are disappearing faster than you can say, "spaghetti and meatballs."

The process of repaving is a simple hand operation with no high tech machinery. If there was ever to be a pot-hole-filling instruction manual published in Bulembu, this is what it would say:

1.    Pick a pothole.
2.    Clean pothole of all loose dirt and dust.
3.    Prime pothole with Bitumen (tar).
4.    Mix stones with Bitumen and ensure stones have a thick coating on them.
5.    Drain off excess tar.
6.    Put Bitumen covered stones into pothole.
7.    Use roller to level off the filled pothole.
8.    Mix Bitumen with cement and crusher dust in the concrete mixer to create a sealer.
9.    Pour the sealer mixture in piles at various points along the road.
10. Take a giant squeegee and spread the sealer mixture out flat over the road.
11. Let dry.
12. Repeat as many times as is necessary to fill in all the potholes all over town.
The paving has begun just outside Bulembu Country Lodge at the top of the main artery that runs all the way through town. The paving will move ahead in three phases: (1) the main artery from the Lodge out to the checkpoint by Bulembu Timber’s saw mill and the road that connects the Lodge to the border access road, (2) the minor roads on the left side of the main artery, and (3) the minor roads on the right side of the main artery.

There is no date when project leaders expect the work to be completed, as the progress is largely dependant upon funds becoming available to continue the work.

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