The Namibian Main Road 118 Upgrade was a complex and challenge-filled project, not only for its location as an isolated road through the harsh Namib Desert with its sandstorms and difficult terrain, but also having to operate under the tight security of the diamond mine through which it ran. However the greatest challenge was an incredibly tight time frame.

Namibia had long needed road infrastructure between the town of Oranjemund in the far south and the rest of the country. Studies favored the upgrading of the existing upgrading of the existing Namdeb private road along the north bank of the Orange (Gariep)  river, rather than the construction of a whole new route altogether, to a bitumen surface. Having overcome the initial challenges and landed in a “Design under Construction” situation, SMEC’s site team proceeded to finalise the design so that a fixed programme and proper planning could be attached, enabling the Contractor to optimise the type and quantity of equipment required. The upgrade of the 99 km ‘river route’ to bitumen surface resulted in the southern part of the Nambid Desert becoming much before accessible. Winner of 2019 Consulting Engineers Best Projects in the Civil Engineering category and awarded a commendation in the Best International Projects category for the Main Road 118’s design and construction supervision.


Objectives of the project are to significantly reduce time and travel costs for the residents of Oranjemund, increases potential tourism growth and has been designed to withstand sandstorms, flooding and other challenges.


Talk to one of our specialists about our role on the Namibia Main Road 118 Project.