Major northern bypass

Ambitious plan to ease traffic pressure

12 January 2018 | Infrastructure

The Roads Authority has abandoned plans to expand the Ongwediva-Ondangwa road into a dual carriageway for a more suitable bypass that will link Onethindi to Oshakati.

The new project will stretch from the B1 at Onethindi and will relieve pressure on the congested Ondangwa-Oshakati road.

The other motivation that necessitated the new project was the high cost of compensating hundreds of property owners who have built structures close to the planned highway.

This week RA spokesperson Hileni Fillemon confirmed to Namibian Sun that the design for this new project was nearly completed.

She added that the authority was also establishing how many people would be affected by the road cutting through their mahangu fields.

The road project is meant to reduce car crashes and traffic congestion in the area.

“The design section of the Ondangwa-Oshakati bypass is near completion. We are positive that it will be completed before June this year,” Fillemon said.

She added that construction would commence once funds were made available for the project.

The RA had initially planned to expand the Omuthiya-Ongwediva road into a dual carriageway or a highway. But due to the number of structures erected within the road reserve the company rather opted to construct a new road bypassing Ondangwa, Ongwediva and Oshakati to the south.

“We are only going to expand the Omuthiya-Onethindi road into a dual carriageway.

The project will start at 15 kilometres to Omuthiya from Oshivelo, and will follow the current alignment up to Onethindi.

“From Onethindi it will bypass Ondangwa, Ongwediva and Oshakati in the south and will join the main road just after Oshakati. It means we are going to construct a new road, a bypass between Ondangwa and Oshakati,” Fillemon said.

The RA changed the plan after it failed to convince owners of structures close to the road to halt construction, although their buildings are within the prohibited distance from the main road.

Sources privy to RA affairs told Namibian Sun that it was the third time that the plan had been altered.

Previous plans were also deemed too costly, according to an expert, who requested anonymity.

The RA would also have spent a lot of money compensating landowners.

This has been confirmed by the traditional leaders of some villages along the route. They said residents who would have been affected by the road plan were informed that it was no longer going to happen.

Denial

Fillemon has denied these claims, however, saying that there was no other road plan, and furthermore, that the RA would not spend a lot of money on compensation.

“This information is incorrect.

However, the RA's intention is to relocate a minimum number of landowners and this exercise requires a lot of route alignment planning which we are currently busy with,” she said.

Previously, Namibian Sun reported that the RA was embroiled in a dispute with traditional leaders over their subjects who are building too close to the main road between Ongwediva and Ondangwa.





Some of the builders were issued with letters ordering them to demolish their structures, but they refused and accused the RA of failing to embark on a public awareness campaign to avoid the current situation.

“It was this dispute that forced the RA to cancel the plan to expand the Ongwediva-Ondangwa road because many builders have constructed their buildings within 100 metres from the main road, which is against the Roads Authority Act,” the source said.

In a meeting with traditional leaders at Omuthiya last month, RA engineering technician Silas Titus Temba was quoted by the information ministry as saying members of the community were cautioned against building within 100 metres from the road between 1993 and 1995.



No cuca shops

Temba informed the meeting that cuca shops along the Oshivelo-Onethindi road that are within the prohibited 100 metres would be demolished to make way for the road expansion.

“The 1995 that they are talking about is a long time ago. Most of the people who were educated that time are not the ones driving development anymore. The education was supposed to be a continuous exercise,” a source remarked.

Fillemon said the public awareness campaigns carried out between 1993 and 1995 were adequate and that was confirmed by some traditional leaders during the Omuthiya meeting.

ILENI NANDJATO