Transport Infrastructure Development in Karas Region

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By Moses Amweelo The restructuring process of government departments has produced good results with performance of the established entities continuously improving.0 The entities referred to herein are the Namibia Airports Company to manage eight major airports, Namport to manage the Walvis Bay and LÃÆ’Æ‘Æ‘ÃÆ”šÃ‚¼deritz ports, Telecom to run the telecommunications network, Nampost to operate the postal services, and the Roads Authority to manage the national road network with funding from the Road Fund managed by the Road Fund Administration. The finalization of the medium- to long-term roads master plan has provided recommendations on the development rehabilitation and maintenance of the national road network over a twenty-year period. The master plan also includes a rural road access development policy and programme, which is to provide a controlled environment in the selection of roads projects for development in the regions. On top of the said master plan, the government has established the Roads Boards whose purpose is to advise on road infrastructure issues in the regions. It is strongly requested that these Boards be used as channels of communication with the government. Nakop River Bridge: The old Nakop River Bridges were constructed in the early Sixties and were designed for traffic at that time utilizing design methods developed then. Due to increased traffic loading and deficiencies in design, the structures deteriorated to an extent that they became a danger to road-users. The bridges therefore required demolition and replacement. The reconstruction of the bridges was completed in September 2003 at a cost of N$5.2 million. The structure now complies with SADC standards in terms of loading and geometric requirements. Noordoewer River Bridge: The Noordoewer River Bridge spans the Orange River at the border with South Africa and links Namibia with Cape Town through Route 05 of the SADC regional trunk road network. Inspection of the bridge by our South African counterparts revealed deterioration of some elements, which needed urgent attention. Through the Roads Authority, an agreement was reached with our counterparts to share the rehabilitation costs on a 50/50 basis, and the works to be done under a contract managed by our South African counterparts. The rehabilitation of the bridge was completed in October 2002 at a total cost of N$4.1 million. Oranjemund Link Road: At independence, government recognized that there was a need to link the diamond-mining town of Oranjemund with an all-weather road instead of the traditional route through Port Nolloth, Steinkopf in South Africa to the common border at Noordoewer. A pre-feasibility study, totally funded by government, was commissioned in 1990, and it identified two routes for further investigation, namely: the inland route from Oranjemund through Sendelingdrift and Rosh Pinah to Aus, and the coastal route from Oranjemund through Chameis, Rotkop to LÃÆ’Æ‘Æ‘ÃÆ”šÃ‚¼deritz. With grant funding from the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA), government commissioned a study to upgrade the pre-feasibility study to a full feasibility study including a preliminary design. The study carried forward an evaluation of the two routes identified in the pre-feasibility study and recommended upgrading the Aus-Rosh Pinah-Oranjemund road in phases, starting with the Aus-Rosh Pinah section as Phase One and the Rosh Pinah-Sendelingdrift, Oranjemund, as Phase Two. The recommendations of the study were well received by the African Development Bank (ADB) and BADEA who agreed to co-finance the Aus-Rosh Pinah road together with the Road Fund Administration. The financing arrangements were for the ADB to co-finance the first 118ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ km from Rosh Pinah and BADEA the last 51ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ km to Aus. I would like to extend my appreciation to the management of Scorpion Zinc for the financial support extended to the Roads Authority for the interim sealing of the 12ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ km section between Rosh Pinah and the turn-off to Scorpion Zinc Mine. The 169ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ km section between Aus and Rosh Pinah is almost complete (Mr Andreas Helmich Engineer from Roads Authority reported in local newspapers recently). The completion of Phase One will reduce the costs associated with the transportation of our mining products from Scorpion Mine and Rosh Pinah Mine, as well as agricultural products to markets, and at the same time reduce the number of road accidents, and improve the whole transportation of other goods and people and therefore contribute to economic development and better living standards for our people. It is anticipated that Phase Two, between Rosh Pinah and Oranjemund, will follow after the proclamation of the section within Diamond Area No.1. To facilitate its proclamation, the government has set up a Task Force to identify issues that require resolving with different ministries and stakeholder organizations. Thereafter, proclamation and pre-construction activities will follow. I am satisfied that government has adequately invested in the transport infrastructure in the Karas Region, and Namibia as a whole. I would also like to extend my gratitude to the institutions that were responsible for designing and constructing this project, ensuring that this important project is completed in time and within the limits of the budget.