By Raymond Baguma
Government is planning to build a sh700b eight-lane express highway from Kampala to Jinja to handle the rising traffic.
The Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) revealed that the expressway will be a toll road, meaning that it will attract a nominal fee for motorists to use.
Daniel Alinange, the authority’s corporate communications manager said there is an increasing demand for social infrastructure, mainly the roads.
“We are hopeful that we may get a partner next year to help us construct it,” said Alinange.
According to the design details of the proposed highway, the road is planned to start from the current pedestrian overhead bridge at Nakawa in Kampala.
The highway will then intersect with the proposed Southern bypass near Namboole.
The Government does not have enough money and is opting for partnerships with private companies under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement.
However, PPP law is yet to be passed by Parliament.
According to David Luyimbazi, the roads authority’s director for planning, the expressway is a viable investment because on average, the current road handles up to 40,000 vehicles every day and the volume of the traffic is growing at an average of between 5 and 8% every year.
Quoting experts, Luyimbazi said it is estimated that in the next five to 10 years, the Kampala-Jinja road, in its current state, will not be able to contain the ever-rising traffic congestion.
The highway will ease traffic flow because the current Kampala-Jinja road is the most heavily trafficked road in the country.
It is the major import-export route to the Kenyan port of Mombasa.
Alinange said the Ministry of Finance has pledged funds to compensate residents who will be affected. The old road will be maintained as a free facility to cater for those unable to pay.
Luyimbazi said the route for the planned Kampala-Jinja expressway will run parallel and south of the present Kampala-Jinja road.
It will join the old one at Namataba. It is also proposed to go through a section of the Lugazi sugar plantation, but will avoid the Mabira forest.
The Southern bypass has been planned to have tunnels through highly developed and populated areas. It will also have viaducts built to avoid swamps, according to Luyimbazi.
Alinange also revealed that designs for express highways which include the Kampala-Mpigi as well as the Kampala-Bombo one have been finalized.