By Innocent Anguyo
A Portuguese construction company has won the tender to construct the long awaited second phase of the Kampala Northern Bypass, Dan Alinange, the Corporate Communications Manager of Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) has revealed.
The project, Alinange said is expected to cost 60 million Euros (approximately sh209b) and would take 30 months to complete.
In an interview with the New Vision, Alinange identified the company as Mota-Engil, Engenharia E Construcao SA, the largest Portuguese construction company.
Mota-Engil, Engenharia E Construcao, S.A. operates as a subsidiary of Mota-Engil SGPS SA. Mota-Engil is a Portuguese industrial conglomerate.
Its principal activities include civil engineering and construction of infrastructure including bridges, dams, industrial buildings, schools, chimneys and roads; energy and steel works; transport concessions and environment and services. The company has operations in Europe, Africa and America.
As much as the company has not undertaken any project in Uganda before, Alinange said it has done work to the magnitude of the Northern Bypass in several African countries including Namibia, Angola, Mozambique, Botswana and Swaziland.
In 2010, the company had total assets worth 3.456 billion Euros and posted a profit of 37 million Euros that year.
“The company won because it presented the best technical proposal for this kind of project,” Alinange said.
Civil works on the second phase of Northern Bypass will commence next month, according to Alinange.
The project is funded by the European Investment bank, European Union (EU) and the Government of Uganda. The EU Ambassador to Uganda, Kristian Schmidt said the project is aimed at expediting completion of the East African Northern Corridor linking Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda.
“This will strengthen trade in the East African Community,” Schmidt noted while speaking to New Vision at EU offices in Kampala.
The entire stretch of the Northern Bypass, which springs from Mandela Stadium at Bweyogerere to Busega round-about, is to be turned into a dual carriage road, when the second phase is completed.
Although, during the first phase, the 60-meters corridor obtained would be enough for the dual carriageway, Alinange said they are acquiring more land at some round-abouts and junctions that are to be widened and turned into flyovers.
“The Bypass project covers on roundabouts along the bypass. All roundabouts will be removed and replaced with flyovers to eliminate traffic delays,” Said Alinange.
Roundabouts to be expanded include Kalerwe, Busega, Ntinda, Kisaasi and Nansana and all residents around them are to be relocated.
Alinange said valuation of the property for those expected to be affected has already been finalized, pending compensation. Compensation of affected people along the junctions and roundabouts will commence this month.
Suzan Katiake, the spokesperson for the ministry of works said the road will decongest traffic in the city by diverting traffic to and from the north and western parts of the country.
“The road will also be used to reduce pollution in the city Centre since it will offer an alternative route for big trucks which cause a lot of pollution,” Kaitaike added.
Civil works for the second phase of the road were initially poised to commence earlier this year only for it to be delayed by a court case.
Raynolds Construction Company (NIG) Ltd, a Nigerian road construction company had made a bid to stop the procurement of a different contractor to expand the Northern By-pass.
The company had earlier been disqualified by the Government, UNRA and EU for failure to bring proof of at least two projects it had done to the requirements of the Northern By-pass expansion project.
Raynolds, which already has a contract to build the Kampala-Katuna road, was the lowest bidder, the Court heard.
The Government, UNRA and the EU insisted that the requirements for the Northern By-pass project are complex and differ from the ones for a road like Kampala-Katuna, which Raynolds is handling.
When Raynolds was disqualified, it filed an application for judicial review of its disqualification as well as orders to quash the decision and a court order that the contract be awarded to it. They argued that their disqualification was illegal.
The application for judicial review is still pending. Raynolds also filed an application for a temporary injunction stopping the procurement process until its main application is heard.
But Charles Emuria, the High Court registrar, rejected the application for a temporary injunction saying allowing it could cause government to lose funding. However, an application for a permanent injunction is yet to be heard in court.
The first phase of the project, which was predicted to cost sh87b, ended up costing over sh100b. Work on the road started on August 24, 2004 and was completed in 2009, three years behind schedule.
The first phase was constructed by Salini. It involved construction of 10 bridges, one pedestrian footbridge and a number of side access roads. The project was however affected by inflation.
The EU grant was used for civil works and supervision, while the Government bore the cost of land acquisition. The second phase is expected to further divert transit trucks heading to western Uganda, Rwanda and eastern D.R Congo.