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Potholes are back on Kampala roads

By Vision Reporter

Added 12th October 2007 03:00 AM

FIVE months after the emergency city road repairs, potholes have reopened on several city roads. The contractors, Stirling, Dott Services, Spencon and Cementers Construction, are now warming up for fresh contracts to patch up the new potholes.

FIVE months after the emergency city road repairs, potholes have reopened on several city roads. The contractors, Stirling, Dott Services, Spencon and Cementers Construction, are now warming up for fresh contracts to patch up the new potholes.

By Chris Kiwawulo
and Henry Mukasa


FIVE months after the emergency city road repairs, potholes have reopened on several city roads. The contractors, Stirling, Dott Services, Spencon and Cementers Construction, are now warming up for fresh contracts to patch up the new potholes.

Some of the roads that underwent repairs but have deteriorated are; Jinja Road, Lumumba Avenue, Nakasero Road and Buganda Road. Others are; Binaisa Road, Kyaggwe Road and George Street.
In total, 49 city roads mainly in Nakawa, Kololo and Industrial area were patched up at a cost of sh4b during the emergency repairs that started on January 6, 2007. The firms completed the works in early April.

The Ministry of Works explains that the project was never meant to be a permanent solution to the glaring potholes that dogged Kampala’s roads early this year.

Susan Kataike, the ministry’s spokesperson, says it is neither a surprise nor an abnormality that new potholes have developed on some of the roads.

“The ministry came in to ensure that the road network did not entirely collapse. We intervened to make the roads motorable as we wait for a complete overhaul when we get funds,” she explains.

Her views are echoed by the contractors. “Under the emergency repairs, we signed a contract to work on the roads on a temporary basis. It was not complete resealing,” a Stirling official notes.

The works and transport minister, Eng. John Nasasira, argues that the roads are a lot better than they were at the beginning of the year.

Some of them were only patched while others like Yusuf Lule and Jinja roads had some sections resealed with funding from the sh17b set aside to repair roads in preparation for the commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.

Nasasira also says the heavy rains have hampered efforts to reseal potholes. They have slowed down work, he says, adding: “Contractors are working on the roads but rain hasn’t been on our side.

Some of the repairs that have been done have been damaged. Bear with us. Most of the roads in Kampala are very old. They are due for reconstruction but we shall patch them up because of the limited resources we have. I have always told people that patches are better than potholes.”

Nasasira has instructed the contractors to ensure that there will not be any more potholes in Nakasero and Kololo in two months’ time. “You will not get Kampala transformed in a couple of months to look like the developed capitals. But even if you are in a simple house or a hut, you can get it tidy and host guests,” Nasasira argues.

He says Kampala’s biggest problem is the drainage system and that it will be addressed ahead of the Commonwealth summit.

The Ministry of Works plans a complete overhaul of Kampala roads after the central government takes over management of Kampala, which is currently in the hands of Kampala City Council (KCC).

This takeover awaits Parliament’s approval. According to the Local Government Minister Maj. Gen. Kahinda Otafiire, the bill for the takeover will be tabled before Parliament in about two months’ time.

According to the Road Agency Formation Unit spokesperson, Dan Alinange, there are 900km of roads in Kampala city; 375km are tarmac and 525km are gravel (murram) or earth surface.
The KCC authorities, who are currently in charge of repairing city roads, admit that they have failed.

The repairs require huge amounts of money which KCC cannot raise, argues Simon Muhumuza, the KCC spokesperson. Most of these roads, Muhumuza says, date as far back as 1930s and 1950s and require over sh132 trillion to reconstruct.

He explains that each kilometre could cost about sh400m, although the cost may vary depending on the area covered — whether swampy, hilly or flatland.

Potholes are back on Kampala roads

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