Long-distance trucks are a safety risk in Omaruru

Hertta-Maria Amutenja

Omaruru, a town crucially positioned as a transportation link between Walvis Bay and Katima Mulilo, is grappling with road safety risks caused by long-distance trucks that inundate the town.

Joseph Haipinge, the Head of Planning and Technical Services in the Omaruru Town Council, has highlighted the hazardous state of the town’s roads, worsened by the ongoing movements of trucks.

He said the town faces an ongoing issue with a narrow bridge over the Omaruru River which connects the town to surrounding areas.

He added that the restricted width of the bridge caused difficulties for heavy trucks to manoeuvre it, leading to a series of collisions.

“A challenge we have had for quite some time now is the bridge between Omaruru town and the location. The bridge is very narrow and heavy trucks can hardly pass each other. There has been quite a number of accidents that have taken place where the trucks collided,” he said

During a meeting this week with the National Council’s Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Housing, Haipinge explained that they are actively engaging stakeholders to devise effective solutions for the challenges posed by trucks.

He said the absence of a dedicated truck port in the area has raised apprehensions among residents, fearing the deterioration of the road surfaces and increased hazards for pedestrians and drivers.

“The main road going through our town has an impact on our economy because most logistic trucks come through Omaruru.

This is the main road for trucks to and from the Walvis Bay port, the rest of the country and neighbouring countries. Most of the logistic companies consider Omaruru as a resting town and always park their trucks here to rest. We have a challenge with such trucks because in most cases they park along the road and that calls for the need for a truck port in Omaruru town,” said Haipinge.

Despite the lack of a truck port, he stated that the town’s municipality faces some significant obstacles to having adequate roads under its jurisdiction, including funding to upgrade the roads.

“The last time we financed a street in our jurisdiction was in 2012 and was done through collaboration, that was the last time we had a project for road upgrading.

Currently, as a town, we have initiatives and objectives in our strategic plan to ensure access roads that are within our jurisdiction are well maintained. we have our in-house equipment and we also do surfacing maintenance of things like potholes,” said Haipinge.

He added that Omaruru, as one of the country’s oldest municipalities, comprises a network of roads, split equally between gravel and tar surfaces.

Saying that these roads, while predominantly gravel, connect vital establishments such as schools, hospitals and other essential amenities.

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