The expressway is designed to foster regional integration and improve trade.
PIC: An artist's impression of the expressway
A new four-lane expressway linking Busega in Kampala to Mpigi district will reduce travel time along the busy route from one hour to 20 minutes, details of the project reveal.
Construction of the expressway connecting three districts of Kampala, Wakiso and Mpigi is set to start in 2018, lasting three years before it comes into use in 2020.
Government signed a sh542b loan agreement with the African Development Bank for the project on Friday to pave way for the procurement process.
The 23km Busega-Mpigi expressway is part of a multi-national road project which includes rebuilding the 208km Kagitumba-Kayonza-Rusumo road in the eastern part of Rwanda.
Finance minister, Matia Kasaija and Gabriel Negatu, the East Africa regional director at ADB signed the financing agreements for the new road at the ministry’s head offices in Kampala.
The existing two-lane Busega-Mpigi road carries over 26,000 vehicles per day but only one side of it is tarmacked, yet it serves as a crucial link to Rwanda and Tanzania.
Part of the project includes building 20km of service roads linking to the expressway, 8km auxiliary roads, 12km of interchange loops and five underpasses, bringing the total length to 63km.
Kasaija said the project would help reduce transport costs, improve farmers’ access to markets and create wealth and employment in affected areas.
“This project is in line with our National Development Plan 2 which emphasises the need for inclusive and sustainable growth and increasing competitiveness,” he stated.
Under the new five-year plan, priority has been given to roads in order to reduce transport costs, enable farmers to access services and to boost trade, the minister explained.
The expressway is designed to foster regional integration and improve trade for Uganda and Rwanda, both landlocked countries, with neighbouring Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi and the Great Lakes region.
According to preliminary designs, the existing Busega-Mpigi road will widened and four interchanges will be built at Nabbingo, Nsangi, Maya and Lungala suburbs.
The total cost of the project is sh690b, of which ADB will cover sh542b (79%) and government will contribute sh148b. The project will be supervised by the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA).
At least 30% of jobs related to the expressway project have been reserved for women and youth, and at least 800 women traders will undergo enterprise training, Negatu disclosed at the meeting.
In addition to interchanges, underpasses and service roads, security lights will be installed along the entire length of the expressway and 12.6km of swamp will be treated.
The loan comes with a 40 year repayment period, with a 10 year grace period. Government will pay 0.5% per annum of the disbursed loan and a 0.75% service charge per annum.