OPUWO – Works deputy minister Veikko Nekundi has expressed dissatisfaction in the manner in which the Roads Authority is dealing with the maintenance of the Opuwo-Okanguati-Epupa road in the Kunene region.
Nekundi, who was assessing the state of the road last week following heavy rains recently, indicated the road is dilapidated and that there is no primary remedy offered to make it easier for motorists to use it with ease.
“My minister, comrade Mutorwa, upon the receipt of the invitation from the governor, he already gave a directive that the road must be restored to usage ability before my arrival on this particular visit,” he said.
“But coming here, nothing has been done. It is a concern to me – and it should be a concern to my minister too and the ministry. This cannot go on like this. We must address it as a matter of priority.”
The Opuwo-Okanguati-Epupa road has repeatedly experienced flash floods that not only damaged the road but cut off the community from essential services when it rains.
There are more than ten river crossings on the road between Opuwo and Okanguati. Nekundi also expressed concern over the absence of road markings at river crossings or guardrails for safety.
He noted there was a need to install culverts at main river crossings along the road in the meantime while the authorities look at constructing bridges as a long-term solution.
“Some of the rivers do not even require bridges. As per my observation, we just need culverts,” he added.
“Some of these culverts are just dumped in the nearby bushes, so it is very much a concern. They were supposed to be utilised by the government agency to make sure the people have access to basic services.”
RA regional engineer Kennedy Chimira blamed road maintenance delays on the lengthy process it takes to procure materials to be used for road construction and restoration.
Last year, four lives were lost when a ministry of health vehicle was washed away by a flash flood while returning to Opuwo after picking up a patient.