Namibia’s road replacement value is about N.dollars 50 billion:

WALVIS BAY: All possible steps should be taken to ensure the preservation of Namibia’s road infrastructure, the Roads Authority (RA) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Conrad Lutombi says.

Speaking during the opening of a three-day stakeholders meeting between the RA and the Road Development Agency of Zambia at Walvis Bay on Tuesday, he said Namibia’s road network has a replacement value of about N.dollars 50 billion.

“Thus, Namibia needs to have an effective axle load control programme that would efficiently regulate permissible maximum axle limits, vehicle mass and dimensions. These limits are meant to ensure that our roads last their full designed lifespan with only periodic maintenance works required,” remarked the CEO.

The axle load of a wheeled vehicle is the total weight felt by the roadway for all wheels connected to a given axle (the central shaft for a rotating wheel or gear).

Lutombi said the control of axle loads is very important, not only because it protects roads from unnecessary damage, but because this ensures a level playing field between transporters, keeps road maintenance costs to a minimum, and improves road safety.

“Overloading continues to cause serious damage to our road infrastructure and as a result cost millions of dollars in maintenance. This money could be channelled to other important projects such as building new roads; rehabilitating and upgrading existing ones to be on par with regional and global standards, as well as providing access roads to rural communities thereby ensuring the further development of our country,” he said.

The growth of road infrastructure and the expansion of Namibia’s road network have contributed tremendously to the country’s economic growth as well as that of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region as a whole.

Namibia is accessible by all the SADC member states.

“The land-locked countries of Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have access to the Atlantic Ocean via the Port of Walvis Bay, because of easy access through a well maintained road network,” Lutombi boasted.

The RA chief noted that this year, Namibia has seen a significant reduction of overloaded heavy vehicles on sections of the roads where there are weighbridges.

He stated that this is as a result of effective enforcement and continued cooperation of the operators, however, overloading of passengers and non-compliance to road traffic regulations remain a major concern.

“I wish to call upon all road users in particular operators and drivers of heavy vehicles to also become partners in the preservation of our road network. They must also observe all prescribed traffic regulations to enhance road safety on our road network,” Lutombi said.

The meeting is attended by more than 30 stakeholders from Namibia and Zambia, discussing ways to reduce overloading, enhance road safety, preserve the infrastructures and enhance trade.