Namibia Economist (Windhoek)

Namibia: Bridges to Be Constructed to Link Okahandja and Ovitoto Settlement

The construction of three bridges which will link Okahandja to Ovitoto along District Road 1202 in the Otjozondjupa Region is another step closer to reaching one of Vision 2030s objectives which is to have safe and cost effective transport infrastructure available throughout the country servicing rural and urban communities.

The bridges which are phase 2 of the Ovitoto Development Committee's Road Infrastructure Improvement Programme will be constructed at the Babbejaan River, Nieuhaus River and Swakop River.

The project will create approximately 150 jobs for the local men and women from the Region. The project is fully funded by the Namibian Government to the tune of N$68 million.

In a speech delivered on his behalf by The Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Joel Kapanda, at the grounding breaking ceremony of the bridges this week, the Works and Transport Minister, Erkki Nghimtina, said District Road 2102 turns off from Trunk Road B1 and it links the Ovitoto settlement to Okahandja and also serves as an access to Von Bach Dam, farms and various game reserves in the area.

"It is the intention of the Namibian Government to continue striving to develop major road infrastructure such as these bridges, in order to attract meaningful investments and provide all weather accessibility to various social facilities such as hospitals and schools. In addition to the bridges, there will be approximately 12 drainage structures that will be constructed.

The lack of mobility during the raining season affected both human life and activities at Ovitoto, including the delivery of services, such as medication to the clinic, food to the school, access to services in Okahandja, attendance to schools in Okahandja and access to tourists," said Nghimtina.

He also said that the Government is looking at the construction and rehabilitation of other critical bridges nationwide which include procuring work for the rehabilitation and widening of three bridges on the Rehoboth to Mariental road in the Hardap Region.

"The construction of these bridges will have a positive impact on the socio-economy of the surrounding areas and the entire Namibian population will benefit from the secured all weather access," Nghimtina said.

He indicated that Government is aware that unemployment levels in the Otjozondjupa Region is high and the communal centres in the region are not rich in economic activities and do not attract significant inflow of people from the rural areas.

He said that this project will bring an improved level of service which will lead to improved social benefits and a general upliftment of the living conditions of the Ovitoto community and surrounding areas.

"Public transport is also expected to increase for the benefit of the majority of people who do not own vehicles, agricultural trade will increase and access to external markets will be easier and thus promote the development of alternative economic activities," he added

Also speaking at the event, Patron of the Ovitoto Development Committee, Erwin Tjtendero thanked the Government for having heard the pleas of the Ovitoto community

"We whole heartedly welcome the construction of the three main bridges and eight small culvets. We would also like to acknowledge and welcome the employment opportunities that accompany this initiative, given the high unemployment rate among the youth in particular," he said.

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