Windhoek — Windhoek could wait another year or two before it officially gets its welcoming sign for the northern and eastern entry points due to ongoing road construction.
This comes after Republican Party MP Clara Gowases in the National Assembly wanted to find out if there is a specific reason why the City of Windhoek has not followed the example of other towns across the country that set up billboards and welcoming signs at exit and entry points for road travelers to welcome them to the City, or wish them well on their travels.
The existing two signboards in the eastern and southern part of Windhoek are not as visible due to their sizes, design, aesthetic appeal and proximity to the road, it as noted.
In response, Minister of Urban and Rural Development Sophia Shaningwa on Thursday said the City of Windhoek was required to consult and liaise with the Roads Authority (RA), as the RA has jurisdiction over national road reserves, construction and maintenance of roads.
She said the RA had indicated that the envisaged dates for the completion of road projects around Windhoek, both on the western bypass and southern bypass, would 2018 and 2019.
"Given the above timelines, nature and scale of the project, Roads Authority and VKE (the contracted engineering firm), advised that City Council put the construction of the welcoming signage projects on hold, until the road construction projects are completed," Shaningwa said.
This, she says could be because of hindrance of construction activities, access to construction site during this period and dramatic change of the landscape during and after construction, amongst other reasons.
She said consultation was done in terms of the implications it might have on the envisaged development of the welcoming signs while construction is still underway.
However, she said it was recommended that Windhoek commence with the planning and design of the welcoming signage for the northern and eastern entry points and that the City considers the erection of temporary signboards in the interim while a more permanent location is consulted on and designs completed.
"Road Authority further advised the City Council that if they are of the view that construction should commence, regardless of the Road Authority activity, then a letter of application needs to be addressed to them," the minister stated.
She added that such letter should be accompanied by detailed sketches and plans detailing the dimensions and perhaps the most feasible location where the signage will be erected. She said the City has committed a budget for preliminary work in this regard in the current financial year, while construction is underway.
Shaningwa noted that RA gave the City of Windhoek a brief description of current and future road construction activities, which include the Windhoek-Okahandja western bypass that will be constructed in four phases over six years and which started in 2014.
The four sections include the second carriageway to be added between Auas road and Sam Nujoma Drive; the current dual carriageway from Sam Nujoma to Brakwater rehabilitated; the construction of an additional carriageway from the end of the existing dual carriage to the Dobra River Bridge; two more interchanges will be constructed, as well as two new bridges at Döbra. The fourth section includes the completion of the freeway all the way to Okahandja.
She said only section three was completed so far and a formal application will need to be drafted in this regard to RA to construct welcoming signage on the road reserves.
Another major road construction activity the minister mentioned was the Windhoek-Hosea Kutako International Airport Road on the southern bypass. This section is also envisaged to be completed in 2019.