Barrier between highway lanes
13 March 2020 | Infrastructure
In future it will be almost impossible to drive into an oncoming lane when travelling between Swakopmund and Walvis Bay, because a fence is to be built in the middle of the road.
“The fence is part of the original plans and will remain there until further notice,” according to the Roads Authority (RA) in reaction to a question posed by this newspaper.
The fence worries emergency services along the central coast, which is why a meeting with stakeholders was held on Tuesday. “We are concerned that we won’t be able to get to an accident scene quickly because the barrier prevents us from doing so,” a medic told this newspaper.
Swakopmund’s chief firefighter Adri Goosen agrees. “No one can explain why the route is separated the barrier,” he said.
According to him, they were assured on Tuesday that, at least for emergency vehicles “regular passes” would be created. “But that only applies to emergency vehicles. Apparently motorists may not use them,” he said.
“We created passes for other drivers,” the RA said in a statement, adding that if the distance between these passes is longer than 15km, so-called emergency exits will be created. “The longest distance a vehicle has to travel before there is an opportunity to turn around is 15km,” the RA said.
The RA cites road safety and a free flow of traffic as the reasons for erecting the fence. “For this reason, access and exit to the road is only possible at intersections, or in the case of the MR44, via emergency exits,” it said.
Such fences or barriers are also envisaged for the route under construction between Windhoek and Okahandja (A1) and Windhoek and the Hosea Kutako Airport (B6). “The western bypass (in Windhoek) is not a normal highway, which is why no barrier between the lanes has been or will be created,” the RA said.
According to the RA, the new junction at the eastern entrance to Swakopmund is scheduled to open to traffic at the end of April. Part of the new MR44 (from Swakopmund to Farm 58) is already open to traffic.
The construction of the route from Farm 58 to the new junction at Walvis Bay (MR36) is scheduled to be completed by February 2022.