Costs for Okahandja-Windhoek Road Shoot Up

The total costs for the construction of the road between Okahandja and Windhoek has increased from N$239 million to approximately N$330 million to cater for the full-length freeway upgrade, which includes two additional bridges and four access ramps at the second split-level interchange at the place for the former police control point.

The project, rehabilitation and upgrading to bitumen standards of a dual carriageway of trunk road between Windhoek and Okahandja covers 78 kilometres and is being done in four sections.

Roads Authority Manager for Communications, Hileni Fillemon, told New Era in an interview on Friday that the company is currently constructing section three of the project, which is the road between Brakwater and Doumlbra River.

She also said the project had to be extended by four months from 15 to 19 months to allow for the upgrade of the full 10km section to freeway standards. This shifted the completion date to August 2015.

“An additional 5.5 km service road along the north-western side is necessary to provide access to Meatco, City Sand and other planned developments,” she said.

Aveng-Grinaker LTA is the main contractor and the Roads Authority is responsible for overall management.

Currently there are six small and medium enterprise (SME) businesses working on the project which have been contracted to construct culverts, do surfacing maintenance works, main surfacing works, surveying and laboratory testing.

To date the main contractor has engaged 113 employees apart from the supervisory staff. The staff complement comprises of operators, artisans, drivers, and laboratory and survey assistants.

“It is anticipated that more people will be employed when bitumen surfacing works on the freeway commence. At its peak, the project is expected to employ between 200 and 260 people,” Fillemon said.

When asked about some of the challenges the contractor encountered since the project kicked off, Fillemon said Aveng-Grinaker LTA is currently experiencing a shortage of usable gravel material.

“However, they have been instructed to utilize as much of the existing materials in the road reserve in order to mitigate the shortage. For future projects, the RA is working closely with other stakeholders to come up with ways of efficiently utilizing these resources in order to meet sustainable environmental requirements, while successfully delivering demanding infrastructure development programmes such as this at minimal cost to government and the road user,” Fillemon explained.

Another challenge, she outlined, is that some motorists do not adhere to road signs and excessive speed remains the bigger problem, adding that they have also experienced some problems with damage to road signs.

In this regard, she appealed to all road users to adhere to the speed restrictions and detour signs on the designated bypass routes.

“The habit of not obeying road traffic rules and use of the road in an inconsiderate manner should be stopped with immediate effect,” she warned.

President Hifikepunye Pohamba during the groundbreaking ceremony last year said that the completion of the Windhoek-Okahandja Road represents another step towards development, expansion and modernisation of physical and communications infrastructure in the country.

Source : New Era