Some gravel roads in the Okavango sub district have reached the end of their lifespan, and dry grading them only makes them worse, and instead turn them to earth roads that can only be traversed by four-wheel drive vehicles.
This has been the reaction of some local leaders in the area among them Beetsha Gudigwa councillor, Muyakuyi Makgetho who is of the view that roads department’s decision to dry grade the Beetsha-Gudigwa road was ill advised.
In an effort to maintain gravel roads in the Okavango region government has resorted to dry grading them quarterly. But Makgetho has advised that instead, the department should consider re-gravelling the roads as they have lost most of it during previous grading.
“Dry grading pushes the gravel out of the road leaving a bare sandy road which only needs off road cars,” Makgetho decried.
Makgetho has revealed that since January this year the road was only graded last month. “Last week the constructor was working on the Gudigwa gravel road, however I am not certain on how long they will take to grade the road again since they have a tendency of attending to it and going for months without maintaining it,” Makgetho complained.
When responding to a question in parliament recently Minister of Transport and Public Works, Eric Molale explained that a planned maintenance work in Okavango is that maintenance of dry grading is done once every quarter.
He was responding to Member of Parliament for Okavango Kenny Kapinga who requested his ministry to give an update on the maintenance schedule of gravel roads in the Okavango constituency. Kapinga also asked the minister to give an update as to why the Mohembo/Gudigwa road has been unattended for excessive periods.
Molale noted that the budget and resources permitting, the ministry intends to increase the maintenance frequency to grade the roads once every month.
“The road has not gone unattended for excessive periods, as we speak maintenance contractors have been deployed on the sections for Mohembo to Seronga maintaining two equal sections of 40km each,” Molale noted.
He further revealed that two maintenance constructors who started in May 2022 have been deployed on the Seronga sections of 40 km each. He highlighted that the contract will end in May 2023.
Molale told parliament that the Department of Roads conducted a dry grading from Mohembo, Ghani, Chukumuchu, Xamasera and Tsodilo through their in house resources.
“A number of maintenance activities are being planned in Nokaneng, Dobe, Nxai Nxai on a 178 km of dry grading which started on the 6th July 2022 as well as Habu junction to Habu which will start in September 2022.”