Coastal road also upgraded

Both coastal roads between Swakopmund and Walvis Bay, namely the B2 highway and the road behind the dunes, will be upgraded to tarred dualcarriageways over the course of the next three years. The groundbreaking ceremony for the first phase of the project, the upgrade of the salt road C28 (MR44) behind the dunes to the tune of N$960 million took place last week (namib times reported).

The infamous “road of death” between Swakopmund and Walvis Bay might very well become a thing of the past. “As Namibia’s and neighbouring countries’ economic activities continue to grow, this places added pressure on the existing transport infrastructure and systems,” said Alpheus !Naruseb, Minister for Works and Transport, during the official groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday; and added: “Thus, a safe and efficient transport sector will offer various opportunities to strengthen our competitive advantage in the regional area.”
The total cost of the upgrade of both roads being close to 100 kilometres is estimated at N$2 billion. The first phase will focus on the road behind the dunes, which will become a dual-carriageway Mr44. The project begins at the junction of the B2 highway east of Swakopmund, move past the Walvis Bay Airport and will eventually end at the Walvis Bay traffic circle. In addition three “high-standard interchanges” will be constructed, one close to the B2 highway east of Swakopmund, another “massive interchange” close to the Walvis Bay airport and another interchange to serve the mines. This was revealed by Conrad Lutombi, CEO of the Roads Authority during the occasion. During his brief speech Lutombi announced the construction of two new bridges over the Swakop River without giving more details.
According to !Naruseb the project is solely funded by the Government and the first phase will cost close to N$960 million. He congratulated the successful tenderer UNIK/ THOHI, being a joint venture between a Namibian and Chinese company. “This JV will benefit the Namibian company THOHI in terms of skills transfer, as it will allow the Namibian Contractor and Sub-Contractors to acquire skills from their experienced foreign partner,” he said. In total approximately 600 Namibians will be employed during the construction period of the entire project.
After completion of the upgrade of the road behind the dunes, the second phase of the project will commence and will include the upgrade of the coastal B2 highway to a dualcarriageway. With this project it is Governments’ intention to divert all heavy traffic onto the road behind the dunes, while the coastal road will then serve remaining traffic. “I am very concerned about the accidents that occur on our roads. This project will significantly decrease accidents and make life better each day for our countrymen,” !Naruseb added. During his speech the minister reiterated that this project forms part of the recently launched Harambee Prosperity Plan. “Development of transport infrastructure has been prioritised in all National Development Plans (NDPs), but it was only in NDP4 that the goal of becoming a logistics and distribution hub was adopted,” he said. To achieve the ultimate goal of transforming Namibia into the preferred ‘Gateway into Southern Africa’, significant advances in transport infrastructure need to be made.
!Naruseb therefore mentioned current capital projects “that we are busy with”, being the Windhoek – Okahandja road upgrade to a dualcarriageway, the Windhoek – Hosea Kutako Airport Road to a dual carriageway, the Oranjemund – Rosh Pinah road upgrade to bitumen standard and the upgrade of the Swakopmund – Henties Bay – Uis – Khorixas – Kamanjab road to bitumen standard. !Naruseb’s speech received much praise from the attending guests after announcing that Government will soon commence with the up-grading of the Karibib – Usakos – Swakopmund road to a Two-Plus-One cross section road. This stretch of road has in the past few years also received the notorious reputation of being a “road of death” with fatal accidents being reported regularly.
In conclusion !Naruseb called on all Namibian’s to be patient during the project duration. He called on countrymen to take ownership and not to “steal traffic signs” and hamper the process. He also warned the contractor saying that “it is disappointing to see that some contractors don’t keep to deadlines and go well beyond the anticipated construction period.” “This should be avoided,” he warned.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login