Delays beset upgrading of Rundu Beach road

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John Muyamba

RUNDU – Delays have wobbled the upgrading by Ndakalimwe Investment from gravel to bitumen standard (tarred) of a 530-metre road called Bwangungu, which leads to the popular Rundu Beach.
The project, worth N$9.8 million, was awarded as a tender in October 2016.

Initially the road was supposed to be completed within six months after the site hand-over on October 31, 2016 and the completion date was set for April 30, 2017, but to date the road is still under construction.
The contractor couldn’t comment on the matter and referred this reporter to Bicon Namibia, the consultants.
According to Bicon Namibia’s resident engineer, Rodney Gawiseb, the delay is due to NamWater’s fragile asbestos pipe running underneath the road, which is always breaking and interferes with construction. The contractor is supposed to construct a new pipeline to replace the pipe.

“The contractor has to put in a new pipeline alongside the new road to replace the pipe running under it. They laid the pipe but later had a problem with leakages and they were not able to fix these leakages. They subcontracted another contractor with expertise in that area and are currently working on it,” he explained.

This delay has caused inconvenience to the affected businesses and homeowners who live along the road as well as the town’s residents who want to drive down to the river for recreational purposes. Rundu Beach along the Kavango River is a popular hot spot for hangouts and social activities.

“We are losing business as this has taken far too long – sometimes the road is entirely closed and people who want to get to our lodge can’t go through and thus go to another lodge, but we have been patient and are hoping this project sees the light soon,” said Tambuti Lodge owner Elizabeth Hilger
The road will have paved walkways along it and storm water drainage.
The contractor is being accused of operating at a snail’s pace.

According to a source, the council being the client will penalize the contractor N$2,000 per calendar day that the contractor is behind schedule. New Era understands that other factors delayed the project as well, such as rainy days and the supplier taking long to deliver fittings for the pipeline.

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