By Donna Collins
DRIVING on the ‘dune road’ from the Walvis Bay airport to Swakopmund, one immediately notices the extensive roadworks project which is already in full swing, as part of the massive N$958 million coastal road tarring and upgrading project that the Namibian Roads Authority (RA) is committed to.
It is evident that the RA is making good on its multi-phase, countrywide five-year road infrastructure upgrade, which focuses on vastly improving the Walvis Bay to Swakopmund stretch of road that under the current outdated conditions is struggling to keep up with the heavy traffic flow.
It’s all systems go with this fully fledged first phase roadworks project of widening, tarring and upgrading the once familiar C28 into a double-lane highway, which will subsequently become the ‘Main Road 44’.
This phase of the project, scheduled for completion by 2018, is paving the way for a well-developed road infrastructure for improved transport and communication facilities.
Graders, trucks and heavy duty machinery are working feverishly at transforming the original one lane road into what will soon become a free flowing duel carriage way, for cargo trucks and motorists to reach their destinations. This road will mainly cater for heavy transport from the port of Walvis Bay and is still in use for motorists whilst road construction takes place.
The second phase will include the upgrading of the busy B2 Road known as the scenic coastal road travelling between the two towns, and will be changed into a double carriageway. The total distance of both phases is about 100 kilometres.
Meanwhile work involving an upgrade to tar standard also commenced and is currently underway on the 403 kilometre Henties Bay, Uis, Khorixas and Kamanjab connection.
The 90-kilometre N$758 million Swakopmund-Henties Bay road is over 20 percent done, and is scheduled to be completed by March 2018. The upgrade of the two, plus one lane between Karibib and Swakopmund, is currently in the design stage.
RA has claimed that the road expansion network is to ensure the country’s road infrastructure remains on par with the rest of the world, and places a high premium on the country’s transport and logistics pillars.
These developments and maintenance strategies remain necessary, as current and future requirements and anticipated growth of freights are determined, especially in light of the expansion of the Namport container terminal facility.
From the 144 countries assessed on road infrastructure quality and other related indicators, Namibia’s roads were found to be the best in Africa by the World Economic Forum (WEF) and is of similar quality to roads in Britain and Puerto Rico.
Accessible by all the SADC member states, including landlocked countries such as Zambia, Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Namibia’s well-maintained road infrastructure is strongly regarded as the backbone of the country’s economy.
As part of Namibia’s quest to become a regional gateway for the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), RA budgeted a total N$990 million for the construction of roads for the 2016/17 financial year.
Of the total amount, N$808 million is earmarked for road construction to bitumen standard and the construction of gravel roads is budgeted for N$182 million (U$11 million).
Other major ongoing road projects include the upgrade of the Windhoek to Okahandja road and the Windhoek to Hosea Kutako Airport Road to dual carriageways. The upgrade to tar standard of the Gobabis, Amunius, Aranos road and Oranjemund to Rosh Pinah road are also on the cards.
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