The 73-kilometre road from Jinja to Bugiri in eastern Uganda has finally been commissioned after about five years of construction. The delay in completion was due to disagreements between the original contractors and the government.
The road, a crucial stretch of the all-important ‘cargo trans-shipment’ Northern Corridor Route that links Mombasa to Rwanda, Burundi and DR Congo through the Busia, Malaba border points was on Friday commissioned by Works and Transport Minister, John Nasasira. “This road is part of the very important Northern Corridor Route. Therefore this is a special milestone,” remarked Mr Nasasira in Iganga town.
The Head of Delegation of the European Union to Uganda, Ambassador, Vincent De Visscher, was present too. This road project was only completed in September last year at a cost of Shs123 billion by a second contractor, Reynolds Construction Company after the government fell out with Basil Read Bouygues who started the rehabilitation works in 2004.
The Belgian-South Africa company was thrown off the project in July 2006 after it abandoned it eight months after commencement, demanding for more funds outside the contract and seeking the Value Added Tax exemption.
Between late 2004 and 2007, road users and residents of the districts of Jinja, Mayuge, Iganga and Bugiri endured probably the most testing experience on the road, braving a lot of dust after the road was left bare, having dug up the tarmac.
Uganda National Roads Authority’s corporate communications officer Dan Alinange, told Daily Monitor last week that although the Basil company and government are still in arbitration following the termination of their contract, the new contractor gave Ugandans a first-class road.
“This road has the best pavement on the national road network,” said Mr Alinange.
It was jointly funded by the government and the European Union.
RCC is the same company working on the Kampala-Masaka Road, Masaka-Mbarara Road, whereas its sister company: SBI Construction is implementing the Karuma-Pakwach, Kasese-Kikorongo and the Kabale-Kisoro road projects.
The Iganga District Chairman, Mr Asuman Kyafu, applauded the good work done on the hitherto pot-hole laden road but asked the constructors to fix road facilities like road signs, humps among others. Mr Nasasira said Musita –Mayuge-Nakoma-Buisa road in Mayuge which has been in a poor state and Kaliro-Nawikoke-Irundu will be worked on starting March. Others picked for reconstruction include Jinja-Kamuli road to be tendered out next month.