The Road to Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso

How Topcon technology helped improve the link between the Burkina Faso capital and six neighbouring countries.

12th September 2021

Tansoba Boulevard is the busiest road in Ouagadougou, the capital city of West African nation Burkina Faso. The south-eastern bypass is a key interconnection corridor, not only connecting the city with the rest of the landlocked country, but also linking six border countries – Mali, Niger, Benin, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana and Togo.

The 7 km road is a major piece of West African infrastructure and one that recently required vast improvements. When dealing with a stretch of land this busy, however, you can’t stop traffic to begin construction. It’s simply not an option. That’s why contractors Sogea-Satom and Dai Nippon Construction turned to Topcon Positioning and its advanced machine control technology.

Arnaud Parvillé, head of topography, Sogea-Satom, explained: “We needed to work with a partner that understood the importance of productivity and profitability when it comes to improving transport infrastructure. It was vital that this project was completed on time and in budget, so the guarantee of speed, efficiency and accuracy were key drivers in the procurement process. Topcon’s solution ticked every box for us.”

The journey to success
Valued at 30 milliard FCFA and awarded by Burkina Faso’s Ministry of Infrastructure, the scheme’s overall objective was to renovate and widen the road, creating a new system that could withstand the demand of being such a vital thoroughfare for both drivers and pedestrians. This in turn will help to boost business, accessibility and the overall economy of Ouagadougou for generations to come. 

Topcon Positioning Systems: The Road to Ougadougou, Burkina Faso

Work started in 2019 and is due to be complete in November 2021. The project included work on two 10.5m wide roadways (including two 3.5m cycle lanes), the construction of 2.5m wide sidewalks and two pedestrian footbridges, in addition to the construction of 13km of drainage.

“This is a hugely significant project,” said Gael Basseville, business development manager at Topcon Positioning EMEA. “Not only for the people of Ouagadougou and Burkina Faso, but also those who inhabit its neighbouring countries. The ability to safely travel between borders is essential and a vital part of the wider development of the continent. Only the very best technology would enable the project to be carried out successfully, efficiently and with minimal disruption.”

Topcon’s 3D-MC² grader was employed to finish the road’s sub-layer. The system was used with the Sogea-Satom Caterpillar 140k grader, supplied by partner, Smartfleet. Equipped with the latest GPS technology and 3D machine guidance, the solution ensures a fast and precise grade, as well as making the road much smoother overall and increasing safety standards on the busy stretch of highway. 

The 3D-MC² grader was perfect for the Tansoba Boulevard project, as the technology allows teams to conduct precise grading work, even in critical and precarious applications, as the machinery can still grade accurately on site. This makes the 3D- MC² ideal for roads that may be in a state of disrepair or need an extensive overhaul, as a lot of the tricky precision is handled by the machine control elements. By having such an effective grading process, teams ensure the paving that follows is accurate and has the best possible results with a completely smooth finish. 

Gael continued: “So much time and money goes into the research and design of schemes like this and it’s absolutely crucial that they begin with solid foundations. Sub-layers are so important, particularly on surfaces that endure so much traffic.”

A local effort 

Topcon Positioning Systems: The Road to Ougadougou, Burkina Faso

While external support was appointed to Topcon and Smartfleet, Sogea-Satom and Dai Nippon Construction, this was a community-anchored project, with 95 per cent of the employees being recruited locally. What’s more, the main supplies used, such as aggregates and asphalt mixes, were also obtained and manufactured within the region, helping to further drive forward economic growth for the local people. 

To find out more about Topcon’s technology, visit: 

About Topcon
Topcon Positioning Group is headquartered in Livermore, California, U.S. ( Its European head office is in Capelle a/d IJssel, the Netherlands. Topcon Positioning Group designs, manufactures and distributes precision measurement and workflow solutions for the global construction, geospatial and agriculture markets. Its brands include Topcon, Sokkia, Tierra, Digi-Star, RDS Technology, and NORAC. Topcon Corporation (, founded in 1932, is traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange (7732).

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