Hold-up on highways

The airport road and the Okahandja dual carriageway is set to support the economy by improving traffic flow to and from the capital, but major work still needs to be done.

11 March 2019 | Infrastructure

Major sections of the Okahandja dual carriageway and the road from Windhoek to Hosea Kutako International Airport are yet to be completed.

Works minister John Mutorwa inspected the two road projects last week to assess their progress.

Mutorwa stressed the importance of these roads and said Namibia needed a good road network to support trade within the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

“Namibia's economy is exceptionally dependent on exports and imports through our transport system,” he said.

Mutorwa said the airport road and the Okahandja dual carriageway would support the economy by improving traffic flow to and from the capital. The Okahandja dual carriageway would also improve Namibia's link between the new SADC Gateway Port at Walvis Bay and neighbouring countries.

The upgrading of these two busy roads would also enhance road safety.

“It is envisaged that these upgraded roads will attract more business through tourism and will contribute towards achieving regional growth, economic stability and poverty alleviation,” said Mutorwa.

Two transport studies - the Master Plan for the Development of an International Logistics Hub for SADC Countries and the Namibia Integrated Transport Master Plan - have indicated that the entire road from Walvis Bay to Windhoek should be upgraded to a dual carriageway in order to accommodate the expected future traffic. “The ongoing upgrade of the Windhoek-Okahandja section can thus be seen as the first step on the ladder to the future roadway system,” said Mutorwa.

Mutorwa explained that the Windhoek-Okahandja road project was divided into five sections.

The first section (6 km) is from Mandume Ndemufayo Avenue to Sam Nujoma Drive in Windhoek. This section currently had only one carriageway with no interchanges and construction had not commenced yet, he said.

Section two, which stretches 15 km from Sam Nujoma Drive to Brakwater, still required full rehabilitation and the strengthening of the pavement. This section incorporates the existing freeway called the Western Bypass.

The third section of the road – 10 km from Brakwater to the Okapuka River - was completed and opened to traffic in December 2016. The total cost of this section was N$357.4 million. “Minor finishing works have to be completed as part of the maintenance defects period,” Mutorwa said.

Work on Section 4(a), which stretches 27 km from the Okapuka River to the Omakunde River, started in January 2016 and will be completed by November this year. The estimated cost of this section is N$1.1 billion. Section 4(b), which is a stretch of 21 km from the Omakunde River to Okahandja, still needs to be built. According to Mutorwa this could begin in the next financial year (2019/20).

Mutorwa said there had been many housing developments along the existing road between Windhoek and Hosea Kutako International Airport, such as Sungate, Finckenstein and Sonnleiten.

“All these developments encroach on the function of the airport road as a high-mobility corridor,” he said.

The airport road project is divided into three phases.

The first phase, 6.5 km from the MR49 to Sam Nujoma Drive, is known as Trunk Road 9/1 and covers the portion from the Mandume Ndemufayo Interchange to the Sam Nujoma Interchange.

This section has been under construction since 2016, but has not been completed. The envisaged completion date is November this year and the estimated cost of this section is N$700 million.

Section 2(a) covers a distance of 19.5 km from the Sam Nujoma Interchange to the Dordabis Interchange. It has been designed but construction has not started.

Section 2(b) has also been designed but construction has not started. It covers 21.5 km from the Dordabis Interchange to the airport.

ELLANIE SMIT

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