WINDHOEK – The Roads Authority (RA) yesterday celebrated the completion within the stipulated timeframe and within budget of Section 4A of one of the busiest roads in the country, namely the freeway between Windhoek and Okahandja. Section 4A is comprised of 27.6 km of road which has now also been upgraded from a dual carriageway to a four-lane freeway.
Work on this section of the road commenced in January 2016 and was completed on 22 January this year at a cost of N$1 billion that was fully funded by government. Work that remains on the Windhoek to Okahandja road now only includes the last stretch of 21 km, which is envisaged to be completed in July this year, to the tune of about N$900 million. Once completed, the four-lane freeway from the capital to Okahandja will have constituted a total investment of about N$2.5 billion.
According to the chief executive officer of the RA, Conrad Lutombi, the completion of this very busy road will contribute to poverty alleviation and will significantly improve access to health and education facilities. The Windhoek to Okahandja road accommodates an average of 16 000 vehicles daily, comprised of about 14 500 light motor vehicles and 1500 heavy vehicles.
“The accident rate on this stretch of the road was very high and road safety is a major benefit of the new construction. Also, the road will smoothly facilitate commercial trade and this investment in expanding Namibia’s road network will significantly contribute to economic activity,” said Lutombi. Section 4A employed some 420 people and the same number of jobs have been created during the final phase.
Lutombi further explained that a barrier will now be erected between the two lanes to prevent motorists from performing illegal U-turns besides at designated interchanges. Also, fencing will be erected on either side of the new road to prevent animals and pedestrians from crossing. This, Lutombi noted, will further reduce the number of accidents on the road.
Section 4A was constructed by a joint venture between a local company, Otesa Civil Engineering, and an international company called Cooperative Muratori Cementisti Ravanna (CMC).
At yesterday’s media briefing Managing Director of Otesa, Schalk van Niekerk, noted that during section one of the road Otesa held a 30% stake in the joint venture. However, during the construction of section 4A Otesa’s local stake in the project increased to 60% due to active skills transfer programme.
Lutombi added that, equally impressive on this project, 74% of the total budget was spent on local sub-contractors, suppliers and employees, thereby making a substantial contribution to the local economy.
Improving Namibia’s road infrastructure cements the country’s ambitions to become the major logistics hub in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) as an excellent road network will form an integral part of the SADC trunk road network to support trade.