Invitation to tender: roads in western and eastern Zambia


Invitation to tender for “Design, Construction Supervision and Baseline Monitoring of Trial Sections on Low Volume Sealed Roads in Western and Eastern Zambia”

The Research for Community Access Partnership (ReCAP) is a six-year programme of applied research and knowledge dissemination funded by a grant from the UK Government through the Department for International Development (DFID). The overall aim is to promote safe and sustainable rural access in Africa and Asia through research and knowledge sharing between participating countries and the wider community.

Most of the rural road network in Zambia comprises earth and gravel roads. The durability of these roads depends on the terrain and traffic levels on the road, but most significantly on the quality of the in-situ materials and gravel available in the vicinity of the road. In some areas the supply of good quality gravel-wearing, course material has become depleted or, as is the case in Western Zambia, does not exist. The use of poor quality gravel may result in rough road surfaces and therefore high vehicle operating costs; or it may result in rapid loss of the material from the road and a need for frequent re-gravelling. Unsealed roads create dust, which damages crops, creates health risks for road-side communities, and is a hazard for road users. All earth and gravel roads need to be reshaped at regular intervals to ensure good drainage of the carriageway. This implies that a responsive maintenance system must be in place in rural areas. The development of such maintenance systems is challenging for all African governments due to lack of reliable funding for rural roads, lack of political support, and lack of proficient engineers at the local level who are dedicated to maintaining the roads. Maintenance requirements will increase in many areas due to climate change effects, in particular due to more intense rainfall. It is evident that, at least in the short and medium term, technical solutions are needed for rural roads that minimise the routine maintenance requirements.

In response to these challenges African governments and international organisations have been searching for more cost effective methods of providing rural roads. In particular, there has been a focus on sealing rural roads in order to eliminate the need for re-gravelling and to reduce routine maintenance requirements. Initially this went against conventional thinking that sealing roads was only economically viable at relatively high traffic volumes (normally more than about 250 vehicles per day). However, this advice was based on conventional design standards for roads, including highly engineered road alignments and the use of high quality materials in road pavements. Low volume sealed roads have been built in various countries using non-conventional design standards and materials that did not meet conventional specifications. This enabled significant reductions in construction costs.

ReCAP, managed by Cardno Emerging Markets (UK) Ltd, is seeking proposals from suitably qualified organisations to implement a project entitled: Design, Construction Supervision and Baseline Monitoring of Trial Sections on Low Volume Sealed Roads in Western and Eastern Zambia.

The objective of the assignment is to carry out pavement design of Low Volume Sealed Roads using the DCP-DN method, followed by the supervision of construction of trial sections in Western Zambia (Kalahari sands, calcretes) and Eastern Zambia (laterites) to sealed standards, applying various seal types and experimenting with locally-available materials. At the completion of construction, baseline data will be collected and a programme of long-term pavement performance monitoring will be established.

Interested tenderers are advised that the indicative budget available for this contract is a total of GBP 340,000.

This tender process is open to any organisation that meets the criteria detailed in the tender documentation. There are no restrictions with regards to nationality or country of registration.

Interested organisations can request the full tender documents by sending an e-mail to with copy to, stating the project reference No.ZAM2097A in the subject line.

All submissions of proposals must be received no later than 08th August 2016, 17:00 UK time.

Cardno Emerging Markets is an Equal Opportunity Employer and is committed to Child Protection.
For further information about ReCAP please visit

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