A planned $909m (about Shs3.2 trillion) road infrastructure initiative in Kampala City and surrounding areas will have to overcome issues that have beset other such projects such as poor execution, delays and corruption.
Most of the projects under the initiative funded by donors, the government and lenders are expected to commence in January next year, according to Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA).
The projects, if implemented, are expected to expand the city’s road network, upgrade traffic junctions, facilitate smooth traffic flow, and improve security, quality of air among other things.
Kampala City has a road network of about 2,110km. Of these, about 646km are tarmacked roads, according to the authority’s data.
The city authorities spend about Shs30b annually on road maintenance works, including pothole repairs of paved roads, but roads such as the 8th Street, Namuwongo return to their sorry state days after the patch work.
In terms of traffic fatalities, Kampala City accounts for close to half the total number of accidents in the country.
In May 2015, the city embarked on the second Kampala Institutional and Infrastructure Development Project (KIIDP 2). The five-year project was worth $183.7m with funding from the World Bank and government. More than one year after its expected completion, final works on majority of the roads under the projects and attendant facilities are yet to be completed.
City authorities now say the project will be completed by the end of November 30, after citing challenges such as the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, delayed acquisition of the land for road and drainage construction and failure by the contractors to mobilise both personnel and equipment on time due to restricted travels during the lockdown, among others.
It is instructive that by 2018, only four roads and 11 junctions had been completed while 14 roads and 15 junctions are yet to be completed.
“We adopted a very ambitious five-year development strategy (2021-2025) with a primary goal of transforming Kampala from its current status of “a huge slum” to a functional, resilient, vibrant, inclusive and liveable city or metropolis. It’s projected to cost about$2b, and one the key deliverables or area of focus is overhaul of the infrastructure, which is apparently in deplorable state,” says Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago.
“Of the total Kampala road network of 2,210km, only 616km is paved. And not all the paved roads are in good and motorable condition. It’s imperative that priority is given to the implementation of the newly enacted Roads Act by, inter-alia pumping more resources in infrastructure development with the assistance of Africa Development Bank, World Bank under Kampala Institutional and Infrastructure development (KIDP), JICA and Road Fund, among others,” he adds.
$288m for roads rehabilitation
The signature project in the initiative is the ‘Kampala City Roads Rehabilitation Project’ worth $288m (Shs1trillion), which if executed on time, will bring back to life some of the worst roads in Kampala that have overtime seen potholes outcompete the remaining patches of tarmac.
City authorities say the new project will expand the road network, upgrade traffic junctions, facilitate smooth traffic flow and improve the quality of air in the city by introducing scheduled eco-bus transit services and expanding the non-motorised traffic (NMT) networks such as walkways and cycling tracks.
Shs917b for Kampala metro
The Shs917 billion Greater Kampala Urban Development Programme to be implemented in the areas of Wakiso, Mukono and Kampala is expected to start next year and last for five years.
It will be located in the Ministry of Local Government. The project will focus on mobility, accessibility and connectivity, disaster risk management and resilience, jobs and employment generation, institutional support and systems development, and slum upgrading and low-cost housing.
Euros 77m for street lighting
Process of acquiring funds from the French Development Agency is underway. KCCA plans to increase street lighting in Kampala from 8 percent to 100 percent. A total of 35,000 lights to be installed. Of the Euros 77m, Euros 70 million is a loan whereas the remaining Euros 7 million is a grant from the European Union.
Shs888b for roads and bridges
Kampala City Annuity Roads and Bridges Project is supported by the United Kingdom government. This project will renew 270km of old roads that have outlived their design life. Four flyover bridges for pedestrians and one key bridge for vehicles will be constructed.
KCCA will also construct steel flyovers at five strategic junctions; Mpererwe, Rosebury, Namasole, Kamwokya and Kabalagala, in addition to constructing pedestrian bridges at three critical crossing points of Uganda Management Institute, Kawempe hospital and Queensway.
Under this project, utility ducts will be installed in all roads to reduce the need to cut roads for cables, utilities, and street lighting infrastructure. Drainage systems, sidewalks and cycle paths in locations where the road reserves are sufficient will be rehabilitated or constructed, while landscaping and planting of trees will be done.
Shs89b to signalise 30 junctions
The Government of Japan gave Uganda a grant worth Shs89 billion towards the improvement of 30 junctions (from uncontrolled to signalised). This includes the construction of a traffic control centre to enable KCCA manage traffic in the city. The implementation of this project is in advanced stages and is expected to start in January 2022.