Friday August 17 2012

EU lines Shs183 billion to expand Northern Bypass

A section of the Northern Bypass.

A section of the Northern Bypass. The road has eased traffic with Kampala and its suburbs. FILE PHOTO. 

By Nicholas Kalungi

The European Union and European Investment Bank (EIB) will inject 60 million Euros (about Shs183 billion) in increasing the number of lanes on the Kampala Northern Bypass and construction of six flyovers, Daily Monitor has learnt.

The expansion, which seeks to further decongest Kampala is set to start in the first half of 2013, with the procurement process of contractors for the second phase set for December.

In an email to Daily Monitor, Mr Simon Kasyate, the press and information officer at the EU, said a total of 60 million Euros was expected from different stakeholders with 40 million Euros (about Shs122 billion) coming from the European Commission (EC), 15 million Euros (about Shs45.5 billion) from EIB and 5 million Euros (about Shs 15.5 billion) from EC subsidy on the EIB rate of interest.

In 2004 the first phase of the bypass was kicked off with Salini Construttori taking on the project as the lead contractor.
EU invested more than 52 million Euros (Shs159 billion) in the first phase while the Uganda government availed funds for the acquisition of land which was required for the construction.

Since its opening in 2009, the bypass has helped reduce traffic as travellers continue to use it as an alternative link to different Kampala suburbs.

According to a statement from the EU there has been a significant improvement in traffic flow in Kampala with travel time being cut by between 20 and 30 minutes.

However, while the bypass has improved transport and decongested the city, it has by the same token become a haven for city criminals.

Reports available indicate that suspected criminals continue to take advantage of the darkness and shortage of security on the road to mount illegal road block which they use to steal from motorists and travellers.

Far still, the roads drainage system is equally poor with cases of flooding witnessed in some of Kampala suburbs along the Bypass.

Uganda continues to face a road network problems with Kampala alone, having a number of impassable roads due to potholes, narrow lanes and flooding on roads every time it rains. The same goes for up country roads where bridges are washed away during rainy seasons.