Two frequently used roads between Walvis Bay and Swakopmund – the B2 highway and the MR44 behind the dunes – will soon undergo a massive transformation that will see the roads transformed into dual carriage highways.
The upgrade of the two roads, which is expected to cost N$958 million, was launched by Minister of Works and Transport Alpheus !Naruseb outside Swakopmund on Thursday. The upgrade will be done in two phases and is expected to be completed within three years.
Phase one will start in the proximity of the junction of the new main road 44 and trunk road 2/2 – east of Swakopmund – and will end at Farm 58, about 6 kilometres from the main road near Walvis Bay airport. Phase two will continue from Farm 58 to the Walvis Bay traffic circle.
Officiating at the ground-breaking ceremony !Naruseb, said as a developing country Namibia must make continuous efforts to position the country’s economy favourably and to make it competitive at both regional and international level.
“To do this we have to create and put in place reliable transportation infrastructure that meets the requirement and demands of the 21st century. Thus, a safe and efficient transport sector will offer various opportunities to strengthen our competitive advantage in the region,” !Naruseb said.
He pointed out that Namibia is strategically positioned as a gateway for import and export to and from landlocked countries in SADC, such as Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
“The fact that Namibia and its neighbouring countries experience continuous economic activity growth adds pressure on the existing transport infrastructure and systems. Consistent economic growth requires sufficient investment in order to achieve the full potential and resulting benefits of the sector,” the works and transport minister said.
!Naruseb further explained that for this reason government is fully committed to ensuring that road network corridors across the country are built to the highest standards and maintained regularly to facilitate commercial trade throughout Namibia and to improve the mobility and safety of all road users.
The road upgrade is one of the projects outlined in the Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP), that President Hage Geingob has pledged to implement over the four-year HPP period.
“As stated in the plan, and in view of Namibia’s aspiration to become a logistics and distribution hub by 2030, significant investment will have to be made in all four modes of transport infrastructure, namely road, rail, maritime and aviation.
“Development of transportation infrastructure has been prioritised in all national development plans. I am pleased to note that significant progress has been made under our NDP4 (Fourth National Development Plan) with respect to road infrastructure. owever, a lot still needs to be done, as the development of road infrastructure is only one of the priority areas,” the minister concluded.