Windhoek-The speed limit on the Western Bypass will be reduced from 120 km/h to 80km/h to mitigate accidents on that stretch of the road, the Ministry of Works and Transport has confirmed.
Works and transport ministerial spokesperson Julius Ngweda told New Era there are on-going discussions with stakeholders such as Road Authority (RA), Windhoek City Police and the Namibian Police regarding such speed regulation.
Ngweda said the time has come to make a decision regarding that high risk stretch of the road that will have a positive impact on people using it.
Reducing the speed limit on that road means that it will no longer be a highway but freeway, Ngweda informed New Era.
The Western Bypass has become the scene of numerous deaths involving pedestrians.
Last month, an accident on the Western Bypass claimed two lives of Academia Secondary School pupils and taxi driver.
Last week, a 10-year-old boy died on the spot while trying to cross the road with other children on the Western Bypass.
Ngweda stated that once they reduce the speed limit to 80km/h, the ministry will monitor the situation on the Western Bypass.
“If the situation is fine the speed limit will remain at 80 km/h but if we realise that this is not working, we will possibly reduce it to 60 km/h,” remarked Ngweda.
Ngweda indicated part of the discussion with stakeholders is looking at the roads that enter that Western Bypass in Cimbebasia, Academia and Pionerspark as they are problematic and accidents often occur there.
He explained that motorists using these roads find it difficult to turn onto the Western Bypass because their vehicles are at low speed while those joining the Western Bypass are often at high speed.
Asked about motorists who are against the speed reduction, Ngweda explained that it is important that no lives are lost on the Western Bypass.
He stated the public will be informed about changes regarding the Western Bypass through the media.
City Police Chief Abraham Kanime added that one needed to look at the underlying causes of the accidents on the Western Bypass, which he said is the attitude of the drivers.
“Until such time when the drivers change their attitude such as avoiding unnecessary u-turns, speeding and being inconsiderate of other road users, this carnage would persist” he remarked.
In addition, Kanime stated that drivers should not only be regulated by road signs but by the activities happening along the roads.
“When you are on the road and you see a sign saying there are animals, you slow down. This portion of the road is busy and to be in a better position to avoid accidents, consider your speed and other road users,” he stated.
Kanime further said the speed reduction proposition is receiving attention and they had a series of discussion and meetings and expect to have more changes on the Western Bypass. “It will prove futile if drivers don’t change their behaviour.”
A pedestrian, Christine Goliath, 44, who spoke during the accident that claimed the life of 10-year-boy last week said this about the Western Bypass: “It is dangerous to cross this road. If I see cars, I run. The speed limit should be reduced.”