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.