Nam Road Authority stretch dualisation project to Otavi
By Tiri Masawi
WINDHOEK – The Roads Authority (RA) of Namibia said it has engaged the Government for the extension of the ongoing dualisation of the Windhoek-Okahandja highway to cover the stretch between Okahandja and Otavi in the near future..
RA’s Chief Executive Officer Conrad Lutombi revealed to The Southern Times that while progress on the first phase of the road project has been completed and second phase is already in motion, “there is a definite will to have the stretch cover the Okahandja-Otavi stretch which has in the past been troublesome with road accidents”.
Lutombi also emphasised that the dualisation of one of the busiest main roads in Namibia is in line with Government’s dream of creating one of the best if not the best road network in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in the future. The 297 km stretch links Windhoek, the capital, to all major boarders in the north of Namibia. The road links to the Trans Caprivi highway and other roads linking Namibia to Angola, Botswana and Zambia.
According to Lutombi, although discussions with treasury are still in their infancy the move is meant to reduce road carnage in the country, which despite having one of the lowest populations in SADC has the highest number of road carnage related fatalities.
“We are here to confirm that the first phase of the project has now been completed and progress is being made on the second phase. The first project, which was managed by the Roads Authority, cost about one billion rands.
“I must also confirm that we have since engaged Government for the extension of this project to cater for the stretch from Okahandja to Otavi.
“The reason for this is that this is the region that has seen a number of accidents occurring so we believe it in the best of interest to extend the project,” Lutombi said.
Lutombi also reiterated that the first phase of the road project was completed within the allotted budget allocation despite the Namibian dollar, which is pegged at one as to one with the South African rand being exposed to external shocks that have regularly dragged the rand.
“Luckily the loan that we used to drive the first phase of the project was quoted in South African rand terms so we did not lose much because of the fluctuations of the local currency against the US dollar.
“What we could however not evade is the high cost of bitumen which we have to import from elsewhere and under such circumstances it is quoted in US dollar terms.
“That left us vulnerable to the price instabilities,” he said.
Namibia has deliberately engaged in the betterment of their roads country wide in a bid to continuously improve the flow of traffic and also rive closer to the dream of a transport and logistics nation.
The final phase of the road construction is expected to be completed in the near future and will be inaugurated by President Hage Geingob.