RUNDU – Rundu roads passing through densely populated residential areas or connecting to villages will be upgraded, works minister John Mutorwa said.
He was speaking during the ground breaking ceremony of the Low Volume Seal Programme to commence in the Kavango East region.
The Low Volume Seal Strategy was first launched in Sesriem, Hardap region, on 16 April.
“Today, we are breaking the ground for these roads. This project is another step in the right direction in our efforts to promote economically viable integrated transport services in the regions as well as at national level,” said Mutorwa.
The ground breaking in Rundu symbolised the upgrading to low volume seal standards of the district road 3402, which stretches from the Trans Caprivi Highway to Unam Campus in Rundu and district road 3448, linking Rundu-Bambi village.
“The combined 22 kilometres of both roads will be upgraded and this project will be done over three years. The Road Fund Administration (RFA) will fund the project and the Roads Authority (RA) will be responsible for the overall supervision,” Mutorwa noted.
The following roads in the Kavango East region will also be upgraded to Low Volume Seal Standards over a period of 5 years – District Road 3425 (Rundu to Ncaute): 5km, District Road 3410 (TR8/4 to Ndiyona): 3.6km and District Road 3422 (to Nyangana Hospital): 1.6km along with District Road 3403 (Divundu to Mohembo): 19.2km.
“It is important to mention here that the dust raised by the traffic and the maintenance blading affects the population living along the above-mentioned gravel roads negatively. Thus, once completed, this project will contribute significantly to the development of the regions,” the works minister said.
During the groundbreaking, Mutorwa said even though routine maintenance is done on this gravel road network, budgetary constraints have become a challenge to adequately maintain all gravel roads.
“Hence, to ensure that our roads are in a safe and good condition, the RA and RFA initiated the Low Volume Seal Strategy, which is an alternative maintenance strategy to optimise the available funding by doing more with less financial resources,” he said.
Mutorwa noted the main objective of the strategy is to bridge the gap between the level of service of gravel roads and high standard surfaced roads. He said the upgrading of low trafficked gravel roads to appropriate surfaced standards is a viable solution to reduce the burden of unsealed road maintenance and preserve scarce road building materials.
In addition, the upgrading of roads to Low Volume Seal standards has wide-ranging benefits, which includes an increase in road user satisfaction and reduction of vehicle maintenance costs, reduction in dust emissions, improved road safety, improved vehicle and driver efficiency that reduces fuel costs, as well as access to communities.
“Road infrastructure is key development tools for any society and for the Kavango East region that has few roads; this is a welcomed move. We would also want the RA to develop roads in the inland where there are no access roads at all,” said the Kavango East governor, Bonifatius Wakudumo, who was also present at the ground breaking.
“The roads that the minister mentioned will be attended to as per our timeline; we hope to start the low volume seal soon as a matter of time. Our consultants are here – and during this process, we will consult your office, honourable governor and councillors, so that we find a better formula to benefit the locals in terms of employment and participation of SMEs from this region,” said the RA CEO Conrad Lutombi.