Important milestone reached for vital new road in Ugandan capital


With nearly 90 percent of the needed land acquisitions in place, the biggest obstacle for completion of a new bypass road in Kampala has finally been removed. The road is set to facilitate more regional trade and relieve congestion in the fast-growing Ugandan capital.

Big red crosses are still visible on some of the house walls facing the road construction of the Kampala Northern Bypass in the Ugandan capital. Others have disappeared along with the demolishment of the houses.

“We have been granted compensation by the authorities and are waiting to know, when the house will be demolished,” says Micheal Jerich, the owner of a small, white house with a big red cross on the front.

The house is located in one of Kampala's slum areas with open drainages, which tend to overflow during rainy season.

"This was where I grew up. Now we need to move and get used to living in a new area. But I understand the need for more and better roads. There are too many accidents and too much congestion. The city needs to develop,” he says.

Important milestone reached

The expansion of the Kampala Northern Bypass is the second phase of a highway construction project, following the completion of the first phase in October 2009. The current phase was initiated in 2014 and is intended to improve urban mobility in and around Kampala through a capacity increase and to relieve congestion on this vital Northern Corridor Route, linking Burundi, DRC, Rwanda, Uganda and South Sudan to Mombasa in Kenya.

Overall objectives are to support economic development, reduce travel time and vehicle operating costs and improve road safety.

However, the project has suffered significant delays due to lack of full rights of access to and possession of site and as such progress has been hindered. So far approximately 56% of the work is complete.

But with most of the land disputes having been resolved, the project has now reached an important milestone, says Ian Bakiza, Road Development Contract Manager at the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA)

"We feel confident that the project is now on the right track and the Contractor Mota-Engil is fully mobilized towards completion of works by close of 2021," says Ian Bakiza.

Speed vs. Quality - a balancing act

COWI is UNRA's Supervision Consultant on the road expansion, and Jagadeesh Pillarisetti, Resident Engineer, agrees that the project should now be able to speed up towards completion:

"However, there are many stakeholders in a project like this. As a Supervisor's Representative, our primary responsibility is to evaluate and ensure the quality of the Contractor's work on behalf of our Client, despite the delays. Things need to progress, but they should not be rushed," says Jagadeesh Pillarisetti.


Since 2008, the Ugandan government has invested heavily in new infrastructure, mainly roads, to accelerate the socio-economic development of the country.

With 25 years of experience in Uganda, COWI has been the preferred Consulting Engineer on a range of these infrastructure projects.

About the Kampala Northern Bypass:

Co-financed by the Government of Uganda and the European Union through a EUR 40 million grant blended with a EUR 7.2 loan from the European Investment Bank.

Overall objectives:

  • Increase urban mobility
  • Relieve congestion
  • Support economic development linking Burundi, DRC, Rwanda, Uganda and South Sudan to Mombasa
  • Reduce travel time and vehicle operating costs
  • Improve road safety

To achieve this, the project includes:

Construction of an additional carriageway, approximately 17.5km long, to complete the dualisation of the Kampala Northern Bypass to a 4-lane dual carriageway road:

  1. Construction of 3 new footbridges
  2. Construction of 6 new grade separated interchanges
  3. Comprehensive road safety improvements such as (i) segregated facilities for cyclists and pedestrians (ii) improved lighting, (iii) active road-studs, (iii) improved at-grade crossings at signalised junctions, (iv) full length central reserve safety barriers.

Get in contact

Eric Goss
Managing Director
Finance and Administration, Uganda

Tel: +256 787364634