Windhoek-The National Road Safety Council (NRSC) executive secretary Eugene Tendekule has revealed there is a need to construct pedestrian bridges at Brakwater on the freeway between Windhoek and Okahandja.
This is because of a rise in fatal motor accidents involving pedestrians attempting to cross the dual carriageway where the speed limit is 120 kilometres per hour.
The road at Brakwater has been upgraded to a dual carriageway but pedestrians from nearby settlements continue to cross the road on which vehicles travel at high speed.
Tendekule said the status of the road, which was formerly known as the B1, has now changed to a freeway known as A1, with an increase in speed limit.
“A freeway does not accommodate pedestrians,” said Tendekule, adding that tractors, animal-driven carts and pedestrians are also not allowed on a freeway.
Tendekule told New Era there are a few options on the table to minimise pedestrian fatalities. One is to fence off the road completely with materials that can’t be vandalised or stolen. The other “is finding out what is land use adjacent to the road and accommodate the needs of people engaged in their activities on the side of the road where services are being provided”.
“The other option is to provide an under- or overhead bridge that would then take pedestrians away from the conflict zone.”
Tendekule made the comments after a 30-year-old pedestrian Samuel Shaningwa, from Mix informal settlement, was bumped by a vehicle while crossing the road on his way back home on Saturday evening. Shaningwa has been admitted to Lady Pohamba Private Hospital with serious injuries.
The road has already claimed the lives of three ‘children born during the liberation struggle’ living at Ndilimani camp, and other fatalities involving Mix residents.
Tendekule said a simple analysis indicates people cross the road for various reasons. Either people are residing on one side of the road and work on the other side, or live on one side of the road and the services they need are on the other side.
‘Struggle kids’ group spokesperson Jerry Hamukwaya told New Era they are forced to cross the road as there are no services at Ndilimani camp. Hamukwaya explained it is more difficult to cross the road in the late afternoon because of the high number of vehicles travelling between Windhoek and Okahandja.
“There is also a hill which prevents pedestrians from seeing oncoming vehicles. You only see the car when it is close to you. Government must bring about change and remove all of us here from Ndilimani camp,” said Hamukwaya.