The Road’s authority has spent approximately N$33 billion on bitumen road networks to replace the top layers of the paved road network since the early 2000s.
Bitumen is a black viscous mixture of hydrocarbons obtained naturally or as a residue from petroleum distillation and is used for road surfacing and roofing.
Currently the road network encompasses 46 377.6 kilo meters of roads, of which 7 165.2km are paved roads, and 39 212.4 km are unpaved roads.
The country’s bitumen road network has increased by 45.76% since Independence and currently the road network is one of the country’s most valuable asset.
Meanwhile, at Independence, the total bitumen road network was 4 572 km while at present, the total bitumen road network is 7 165.2 km
The road network grew from 41 815 km at Independence to 46 377.6 km currently hence an increase of 10.9%.
Hileni Fillemon the Manager of Corporate Communication at the Roads Authority (RA) said the country has made substantial progress with regard to the development of its national road network since Independence in 1990.
She added that the gravel road network was 25 550 km and as we speak, the total gravel road network amounts to 25 921 km and has since increased by 1.45%.
“However, it must be noted that a number of the gravel roads were upgraded to bitumen standard, thus the increase in the gravel road network appears to be minimal. The total length of ongoing and upgrading to bitumen standard is 1 171 km. The total length of ongoing gravel road projects is 342 km,” Fillemon said.
Presently, the total length of bitumen standard roads planned for the next five years, as from January 2015 to 2019, is 1 480 km and the total length of gravel roads planned for the next five years is 3 206.8 km.
“Since its inception in 2000, the RA has made significant strides in expanding Namibia’s road network in its efforts to achieve the Sub – Vision and Goals for Transport Infrastructure as set out in Vision 2030. The provision of safe and efficient roads is an essential part of Namibia’s social-economic development strategy, in which the RA continues to play a vital role,” Fillemon said.
Fillemon went on to say that the RA has built major regional roads, creating links with all neighbouring countries, in line with Namibia’s National Development Plan, which places a high premium on the four priorities of logistics, manufacturing, agriculture, and tourism.
“The expansion of the road network has already started to bear fruit as many of the communities in Namibia have access to and are able to sell their products to the major urban centres within the country and beyond,” She said.
Currently the country is accessible by all the SADC Member States, in addition to that, land-locked countries of Zambia, Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo now have access to the Atlantic Ocean via the Port of Walvis Bay because of the properly maintained road infrastructure.
Fillemon went on to say that the road infrastructure of Namibia continues to contribute to the economic growth of other SADC countries.
“The RA is committed to developing Namibia’s road network in line with the Regional Road Master Plans and National Development Plans towards the achievement of the objectives in Vision 2030,” She said.
Current bitumen standard road projects
In the //Karas, the RA is busy with a 98 km Rosh Pinah- Oranjemund road which was started in January and is expected to be completed by July 2016.
Meanwhile, the RA also undertook to construct a 238 km Otjinene - Grootfontein road early last year and it is estimated to be completed by 2016. This road will be situated between the Omaheke and Otjozondjupa regions.
By 2018 the company also expects to completed a road between Omaheke and the Hardap region which will be called the Gobabis - Aminius – Aranos road that is 250 km. This road project kicked off in 2014.
There is also the Omafo - Ongenga - Outapi 98 km road that was started in July 2013 and is expected to be completed by 2016. This road will be situated between Omusati and Ohangwena whilst the Oshakati – Omungwelume road that is meant to be 37 km and is in Ohangwena will be completed by 2017 and it was started this year in March 2015.