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Old July 4th, 2010, 01:18 PM   #1
ChrisZwolle
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[ZRE] Democratic Republic of the Congo | DRC road infrastructure



The DRC is a huge country in central Africa. Despite it's gigantic area, it has only a narrow strip of land that borders the Atlantic Ocean.

The DRC is an infrastructural black-hole. Since the Belgians left in 1960, time, weather and conflict took its toll on the roads. Theoretically there is a Route Nationale and Route Regional network that consist of 150,000 kilometers of road, however only around 2,200 kilometer of road is paved. Many Route Nationales are no more than almost impassable dirt tracks, even between large cities.

I'll show some N1 pictures next.
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Old July 4th, 2010, 01:27 PM   #2
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Route Nationale 1: Matadi - Kinshasa - Kananga - Lubumbashi - border with Zambia

A photo impression of almost 3,000 kilometers of N1, as far as you can speak of a "road" in some sections. The western route from Matadi to Kinshasa is reportedly paved, and paving should be underway for the remaining sections from Kinshasa to Kikwit. The rest until Lubumbashi is mostly unpaved, even within the vicinity of Kananga and Mbuji-Mayi, two major cities halfway the route. The southernmost section from Likasi to Lubumbashi is mostly paved.

1. N1 Matadi - Kinshasa, just outside Kinshasa


2. N1 south of Kinshasa


3. The N1 in Kinshasa, running near the airport. This route is one of the most modern in the country, and is sometimes called an "Autoroute".


4. N1 in 1996 between Kinshasa and Kikwit.


5. A paved section of N1 between Kinshasa and Kikwit.


6. N1 west of Kikwit.


7. N1 east of Kananga.


8. N1 between the major cities Kananga and Mbuji-Mayi.


9. N1 just outside Mbuji-Mayi.


10. N1 about 200 km north of Lubumbashi.


11. N1 in Likasi, about 120 km north of Lubumbashi.


12. It seems to be a paved route from Likasi to Lubumbashi.


13. Likasi - Lubumbashi.


14. Lubumbashi, the second largest city in the DRC.


15. N1, Kasumbalesa, border with Zambia.
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Old July 4th, 2010, 02:45 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisZwolle View Post


7. N1 east of Kananga.


8. N1 between the major cities Kananga and Mbuji-Mayi.


9. N1 just outside Mbuji-Mayi.
Mbuji-Mayi is said to be home to three million people (OK, the incredibly short Wikipedia article says 2.3m in 2007, but I'm pretty sure I've seen 3m elsewhere). The nearest railroad passes about 120km to the southeast of the city and is accessible via only one paved road running south from Mbuji-Mayi to Mwene-Ditu. There is no navigable waterway. To me, the isolation of Mbuji-Mayi is truly mind boggling. In fairness, Mbuji-Mayi's economy is based on the mining of industrial diamonds, which are best shipped by air, and the city's population has swelled massively as refugees from the nation's horrifying civil wars have relocated there. Still, it's easy to imagine that a proper paved road connecting Mbuji-Mayi with its not-too-distant neighbors (Kananga is 177km away) would transform the nation's economy.

Here's a status map of the N1 project, taken from this informative thread. The work is being done largely by the Chinese, who will take payment ($5b!) in exported minerals. Parts of the new N1 are to have four lanes, including the Kananga-Mbuji-Mayi segment, and a railroad extension connecting the river port of Ilebo to Kinshasa and thence via the existing railroad to the Atlantic port of Matadi is part of the deal. Red is already paved, green is in progress and near completion, blue is "to be launched."


Map from the Wikipedia article about transport in the DRC:
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Old July 4th, 2010, 04:13 PM   #4
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i don't know if half of the pics you posted can be called roads
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Old July 5th, 2010, 01:13 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by garcia.calavera View Post
i don't know if half of the pics you posted can be called roads
Indeed. The Wikipedia article states: "UNJLC reports that, although the road network is theoretically divided into four categories (national roads, priority regional roads, secondary regional roads and local roads), this classification is of little practical use because some roads simply do not exist. For example, National Road 9 is not operational and cannot be detected by remote sensing methods."
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Old July 5th, 2010, 01:34 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom 958 View Post
Here's a status map of the N1 project, taken from this informative thread. The work is being done largely by the Chinese, who will take payment ($5b!) in exported minerals. Parts of the new N1 are to have four lanes, including the Kananga-Mbuji-Mayi segment, and a railroad extension connecting the river port of Ilebo to Kinshasa and thence via the existing railroad to the Atlantic port of Matadi is part of the deal. Red is already paved, green is in progress and near completion, blue is "to be launched."
That's good news. Congo really needs to build a road network (I don't say "improve", because they need to build it from scratch). Since the Congolese can't do it themselves, and since Western countries would charge too much for it, it's a good thing the Chinese are doing it. Hopefully they will also maintain the roads, so they don't disappear in just 10 years with the equatorial climate and lack of maintenance.
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Old July 5th, 2010, 02:03 AM   #7
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The 722m (2,369 ft) long Matadi Bridge (formerly Pont Maréchal, as in Maréchal Mobutu, and now simply called Pont Matadi), over the Congo River, at the level of Matadi. It is the bridge on the Congo River closest to its mouth in the ocean, downstream from Kinshasa. It was built from 1979 to 1983. I bet none of you guys imagined such a beauty existed in Congo.







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Old July 5th, 2010, 02:46 AM   #8
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I knew about it. It's a very important link, from Kinshasa to the deepwater coastal ports. The road running from Matadi to the coast is very indirect, though, I presume because there are swamps alongside the Congo River that would make a more direct route too expensive.

From what I've read, I think the proposed Kinshasa-Brazzaville road-rail bridge would be a very good idea since it would give rail access to the existing port of Pointe Noire and promote economic intergration with Congo-Brazzaville.
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Old July 5th, 2010, 08:29 AM   #9
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It is the bridge on the Congo River closest to its mouth in the ocean, downstream from Kinshasa
Is there any other bridge spanning the Congo? Not even at Bangui.
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Old July 5th, 2010, 09:02 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom 958 View Post
Indeed. The Wikipedia article states: "UNJLC reports that, although the road network is theoretically divided into four categories (national roads, priority regional roads, secondary regional roads and local roads), this classification is of little practical use because some roads simply do not exist. For example, National Road 9 is not operational and cannot be detected by remote sensing methods."
It has to be noted that N9 is an unimportant road, even by western standards. It connects N1 with N17 at Bagata, but other than the town of Bagata, it doesn't serve any towns of importance. It is visible as a dirt road on Google Earth though.
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Old July 5th, 2010, 04:08 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisZwolle View Post
Is there any other bridge spanning the Congo? Not even at Bangui.
There is one at Kongolo, 2,000 km upstream from the Pont Matadi:


There is another one at Zofu, 10 km upstream from Kabalo:


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Old July 5th, 2010, 06:36 PM   #12
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A toll road with a gare de péage (toll station) in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Who would have thought!

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Old July 5th, 2010, 06:52 PM   #13
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It doesn't seem to be too weird, most of Sudan's major routes (there aren't many) are tolled as well. Same in Cameroon.
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Old July 5th, 2010, 06:53 PM   #14
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Road infrastructure in the DRC is basically non existant, transportation of goods in done mainly by the congo river, air travel and an incomplete rail system. It can takes months to move goods across 1 000 km in the same country.

We are building from scratch, there is no government money, the challenges are huge. Here is an example of the types of joint projects with the chinese is going. This bridge has actually now opened, I can't locate new pictures of it but this is the construction stage.

Name: Luange Bridge (Pont Luange)

Location: On the river Luange between Bandundu and West Kasai (400+ km east of Kinshasa)

Construction cost: 36 Million USD

Funding:
Central Government and Chinese cooperation

Contractor: Sino-Hydro (Chinese)

Length: 450 meters

Capacity:
50 tons

Jobs created: 1 000 jobs

Other:
The bridge will link the province of Bandundu and Kasai Occidental, reinforced concrete and iron disk, expected Bridge lifespan minimum 100 years



















































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Old July 5th, 2010, 07:52 PM   #15
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I just saw this picture of the N20, part of the Trans-African Highway
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Old July 5th, 2010, 07:54 PM   #16
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The N19 Route de Bagata

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Old July 5th, 2010, 07:58 PM   #17
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The R307 in central Congo

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Old July 5th, 2010, 08:01 PM   #18
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The road from Kinshasa to Kikwit. The road marking looks very French.



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Old July 7th, 2010, 12:34 PM   #19
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Dowtown Bukavu. Courtesy Radio Okapi & kaps


image hosted on flickr




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Old July 7th, 2010, 12:50 PM   #20
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Newly refurbished road section in Kinshasa, I think the final strech is 10-15km, work was completed by Native and Chinese hands.

Courtesy of kaps76, Screenshotartist, Butembo.







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