The Road Authority will invest over N$1 billion in the Hardap region in the next three years, through the upgrading and rehabilitation of major roads, as part of ongoing projects to be implemented for the 2020/2021 financial year.
The projects include the phase 1 of rehabilitation and widening of the B1 road between Mariental and Keetmanshoop at the Gochas/Gibeon intersection to Tses, a feasibility study to upgrade the road to the Mata-Mata border post from Stampriet, as well as the commencement of the construction for section B of the road from Onderombapa to Aranos.
“With these projects, we are envisioning or anticipating to invest N$1.1 billion in the Hardap region and we hope that it is going to contribute to the upliftment of the livelihood of the region and, therefore, also create employment and reduce poverty,” said CEO of the Roads Authority, Conrad Lutombi.
Speaking during a courtesy visit to the Office of the Hardap Governor, Lutombi gave an update of ongoing planned capital projects for the region for this financial year.
According to Lutombi, the progress for phase 2 of Onderombapa to Aranos, which started last year, is going well. About 350 skilled and unskilled jobs are expected to be created once the project commences on the Hardap site in September, while another 350 jobs are also expected to be created for the Gochas/Gibeon to Tses project.
He further added that the Gochas to Tses project is an international tender but provision was made for SMEs to be appointed as contractors for the project. The verification of some SMEs and recruitment of locals will be done in collaboration with the office of the governor from both Hardap and //Kharas regions.
“We have made provision for eight SMEs, but four SMEs will come from Hardap as well as the //Kharas regions; other four can come from anywhere. Through our database, we found that we have very few SMEs from Hardap and //Karas regions; therefore, we have made some preference that we would accommodate the SMEs – even if their experience is minimal, with the provision of us training them while they are onsite,” he said.
The Roads Authority has also started with the construction of a low volume seal road, about 30km from Sesriem to Solitaire, and is preparing to start with maintenance projects, such as the re-gravelling of various roads, replacement of signage and maintenance of bridges.
“We are working very hard to commence with the detailed design for Walvis Bay, Solitaire, and Mariental through Maltahohe. When that road is realised, it is going to shorten the trip from Hardap to Erongo, and it will bring this region very close to the port of Walvis Bay,” the CEO added.
Hardap governor Salomon April said the road developments are welcome in the region. He also thanked the Roads Authority for the plans they have for the region and Namibia as a whole. The governor also requested that Roads Authority looks at establishing centres in small towns where community members can go for learners’ tests.
“These roads do not belong to a region; they are in a region but it is a national road network – and we are very much appreciative of the fact that there are two big developments happening. We pledge, as a region, to collaborate; should you need assistance from us, do not hesitate, as this is a collective responsibility. You are the technical institution to do this for us but if there is a role for us to play, as a region and as the governor’s office, we stand ready to assist,” said April.
The road network in Hardap region comprises about 6 597km, of which 647km is bitumen road, 4 565km gravel road and 1 385km earth track road.