1.0  INTRODUCTION

 

Namibia has over the past couple of decades made great strides in the development of a physical infrastructure and is today one of the most highly developed countries on the continent of Africa. But the economy, the socio-economic development and also the development of the infrastructure such as roads, are highly unbalanced. One typical, striking example is the road situation in Ovamboland. In Ovamboland, the area with the highest population density in Namibia with approximately 50% of the total population, there are only 4,64% proclaimed roads of the total proclaimed network (1.927,00 km against 41.572,00 km proclaimed roads on the 30 September 1986) and 9,88% surfaced roads (435 km against 4.402 km surfaced roads on the 30 September 1986). On these 4,64% of gazetted, proclaimed roads more than 25% of the total heavy traffic in the country has been developed to serve more than 40% of the total (mainly un-employed) manpower in Namibia. Another comparison is the fact that from 345 total approved field units for construction and maintenance of Namibia's roads system during 1985/86 only 13 have been deployed in Ovamboland.

The quantitative analysis of the Namibian road statistics will be shown as inventory of the status-quo. From this initial position new optimised road models can be developed.

The development of such road models should include factors such as the structural in-equality in the provision of infrastructure in vast areas of Namibia, the equal creation of employment opportunities through labour-intensive-techniques and 'Namibia-Adapted-Technologies' as well as the development of more equal training facilities for all, by the state as well as the private run road construction industry. The roads system in the 'modern' sector of Namibia has been well established in the past, mainly to help the white minority group to achieve its colonial objectives. This road network has been planned, designed, constructed and maintained to a high degree of technological sophistication and provides a more than adequate service. It will be shown in this thesis that the overwhelming majority of these roads in the 'modern' sector can be classified as low-load-bearing roads which in most cases are designed and constructed to exaggerated high standards. Any roads model for a future independent Namibia must take this into consideration.

Before cost and quality optimised roads models for the future roads system of Namibia can be developed it will be essential to evaluate the environmental influences on road building in Namibia. This thesis is investigating climatic and geological influences on road building.

Chapter 2 gives further a complete survey of all natural road building materials, structured according to their geological occurrences, isotopic ages and their performance standards. The knowledge about the location of adequate road building materials and their properties leads to cost and quality optimised road designs. It will also serve as the basis to an evaluation of pavements for bitumen surfaced and unpaved roads after having investigated all existing pavements. The thorough knowledge of the whole roads system, of surfaced and even more important of unpaved roads, is the essential prerequisite to develop cost and quality optimised performance models.

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