WINDHOEK - The Roads Authority (RA) yesterday announced the commencement of the upgrading to bitumen standard of the 100 km stretch of road from Okamatapati to Grootfontein at a cost of N$523 million. The project is a continuation of the bitumen road between Gobabis and Otjinene that was inaugurated by President Hifikepunye Pohamba during 2012. Section 1 of the road, which runs about 127 km from Okamatapati to Otjinene, is currently being completed at a cost of N$575 million and is expected to be completed in July 2016. Both projects are full funded by the government. The road, which is being hailed as an extension of the TransKalahari Highway, traverses the Omaheke and Otjozondjupa regions along the border with Botswana. The road also forms part of the Southern African Regional Trunk Road linking Mozambique, South Africa and Botswana with Angola via Namibia. According to Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the RA, Conrad Lutombi, the actual construction of Section 2 will start towards the end of November, but the contractor, China Henan International Cooperation Group (Chico) will already start mobilising the site as of October 20. “The construction period of this phase is 30 months and we are confident that come April 2017 this project will be completed”, said Lutombi. The upgrading of the road includes improving it to bitumen standards involving two 3.7m wide surfaced lanes, improvements to vertical and horizontal alignment, improvement of drainage facilities and upgrading of intersections. “After a successful tendering bid, Chico Namibia was appointed contractor on this project. I would like to make it clear that the same contractor was awarded the tender off the construction of phase 1, however, both projects have different teams and will be executed simultaneously. The consulting engineer for this project is WEB Joint Venture and the Roads Authority is responsible for the overall management of this project”, said Lutombi. “In addition to providing quality infrastructure, the project also aims to uplift local communities by providing employment opportunities to individuals and sub-contractors. Specific work activities have been identified for labour-based construction to increase the required labour force and subsequently enhance employment opportunities”, explained Lutombi. The RA CEO further elaborated that only Namibian residents will be employed as unskilled labourers while 20 percent of this unskilled people must be female. It is anticipated that approximately 300 people will be employed on the project. “The contract requires the contractor to subcontract a minimum of 15 percent of the total value of works to small scale Namibian contractors (SMEs) and these SMEs shall be utterly and wholly-owned by Namibian residents”, noted Lutombi. Also present at yesterday’s announcement was Vetaruhe Kandorozu, Okakarara Constituency Councillor, who said the project is one of the biggest ever in the area since independence. “With traffic coming from neighbouring countries the constituency will benefit from the increased volumes”, said Kandorozu while calling on businesses to consider establishing themselves in the area. Meanwhile, Nelao Amagulu, Councillor of the Grootfontein Constituency, said she expects people in her area to benefit through job creation and poverty alleviation. “I also expect the new road to result in fewer accidents and I know the new road will help develop the region for the future”, noted Amagulu.
New Era Reporter
2014-10-15 07:54:06 4 years ago