Airport road construction faces delays amidst diverse challenges

The construction of the Windhoek to Hosea Kutako International Airport freeway, a project critical for Namibia's infrastructure, is encountering delays attributed to various challenges. The entire road is now set to be opened either in November 2024 or January 2025. The multi-phased project was initiated, with the first phase covered 10 kilometres and fully funded by the Namibian government. Phase 2A commenced in 2019 and Phase 2B commenced in May 2021, with both phases facing hurdles that impacted their timelines. During a site visit on Thursday, Chief Executive Officer of the Roads Authority, Conrad Lutombi provided insights into the project's current status. He said Phase 2A, spanning 19.5 kilometres from Auasblick to the Dordabis interchange and funded by the African Development Bank, is at 78 per cent completion. 'By February, the link to Sam Nujoma Drive should be ready, with the interchange from Finkenstein Estate to follow later,' said Lutombi. The originally targeted completion date of November has been extended to July 2024 for Phase 2A. Lutombi revealed that the contractor is injecting an additional US.dollars 3 million to compensate for low rates, leading to a situation where profitability for the contractor is compromised. 'The project is costing us about N.dollars 994 million and so far we are still within the budget, but unfortunately what happened is that the contractor got it very wrong. So now they have a serious problem with the cash flow,' Lutombi said. Turning attention to Phase 2B, spanning 21.5 kilometres from the Dordabis Interchange to the airport and funded by a N.dollars 1 billion grant from the People's Republic of China, Lutombi outlined challenges including negotiations with landowners, water shortages and alignment issues with a NamPower line. These challenges have contributed to a 50 per cent production rate as of the current stage. Lutombi underscored the commitment to utilising local labour, with 370 Namibians actively engaged on the site. Source: Namibia Press Agency (NAMPA)