Massive road project in pipeline

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Nuusita Ashipala

Ongwediva-The Ministry of Works and Transport plans to construct earth roads measuring 900 kilometres over the next 20 years as part of its Master Plan for Sustainable Transport for the four northern regions.

The road construction is part of plans to extend access roads in rural areas where the majority of Namibians live.

The master plan for Ohangwena, Oshana, Oshikoto and Omusati regions was recently launched in Helao Nafidi.

The plan aims to reduce transport costs and create better access to jobs and services for residents in rural areas.

It further seeks to enhance economic and social opportunities for rural residents and subsequently improve their quality of life.

The planned roads will ensure there is transport on top of the availability of timely transport services.

According to a study done between 2014 and 2015 rural residents usually use pickup trucks to travel, which often mean varying fare prices and lack of comfort.

“Bakkies present many problems because they are not operated on schedule and in most cases cannot be relied on.  They can also be expensive, particularly if their owners have been persuaded to make special trips,” read the report.

The scope revealed that non-motorists’ transport, mainly walking and cycling, has been neglected in the northern regions.

Only a few sidewalks are available while pedestrians mostly walk on sandy road reserves.
Cycling is very limited because using the road is too dangerous and cycling in the sand is inconvenient.

However, bicycles are used in remote areas for shorter trips.
The master plan will make provision for easy access of vehicles and non-motorised transport on the planned roads.

Altogether the transport ministry plans to construct roads worth N$12.8 billion in the northern regions.

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