City authorities spent the better part of the lockdown fixing infrastructural gaps to ease mobility that had earlier been paralysed by among others congestion.
Though these projects were already on paper, implementation had not been effected because of the authorities’ competing priorities and in some cases, shortage of funds.
But when the President directed that all people should stay at home to mitigate the transmission of coronavirus, the city centre, which is the country’s commercial hub, was deserted. This presented an opportunity for city authorities to fix key infrastructural gaps before people returned.
The infrastructural projects include the redevelopment of the Old Taxi Park, upgrading of Park Lane at Centenary Park, John Babiiha Road (Acaccia Avenue), Burton Road and Ben Kiwanuka street.
One of Kampala’s biggest problems are the potholes which leave motorists in tears especially when it rains.
The World Bank bankrolled the upgrade of some roads in the city under the second phase of Kampala Institutional and Infrastructural Development Project (KIIDP-2).
Many roads remain unpaved to date due to funding deficits. For instance out of the city’s 2,100 kilometre road network, only 600 kilometres are paved.
The KCCA’s head of public and corporate affairs, Mr Peter Kaujju, said the ongoing infrastructural projects were pending and when the lockdown was announced they decided to use the period to roll them out.
According to Mr Kaujju, they are regreening the city, upgrading drainage channels and junctions among other activities, something he said will give the city a new face.
“There are areas which under normal circumstances would be horribly busy like Queen’s Way on Entebbe Road. We have also embarked on an important journey to regulate boda bodas and taxis through mapping the city for stages, routes, stops and are now jointly working with Ministry of Works and Transport for a better return to city roads with particular attention to public safety,” he said.
Parliament recently approved KCCA’s supplementary budget of Shs10b to upgrade city roads which were not covered by the KIIDP-2 project. According to Mr Kaujju, the roads include Sir Apollo Kaggwa Road, Bombo Road, Bukoto-Ntinda road, Salama Road and Kisaasi Road among others.
Old Taxi Park
The authorities are currently upgrading the Old Taxi Park into a better transport terminal that is user-friendly for both taxi operators and passengers. According to city authorities, the project will take atleast three months.
The scope of work includes excavation and disposal of the existing material, installation of underground drainage lines, rock fill, and construction of new foundation layers for the carpet and surfacing of the constructed layers with asphalt concrete (tarmac).
The Park Lane which stretches from Wampewo Avenue through Centenary Park has been in a deplorable state, risking lives of both motorists and merry makers who usually spend time around the leafy hangout.
John Babiha Road (Acaccia)
John Babiha road is among the roads under the last batch of KIIDP-2 roads which are currently being constructed in the city.
Its construction had earlier been stalled by the heavy traffic from both Kololo and Yususf Lule but the works are going on smoothly.
Besides, the authorities have managed to patch up potholes on most roads during this lockdown.
The Minister for Kampala, Ms Betty Amongi, said the lockdown has given them time to come up with plans of reorganising the city’s transport system.
The plan includes registration of all taxi operators and boda boda cyclists. They are also creating boda boda free zones as well as new stages for the cyclists.
“We thought that we should use this time to deliberate on how we can improve the city’s transport network and we are making progress. We will engage all transport stakeholders before this plan can be rolled out in the city. We call upon all people to support us as we move to roll out this plan because it is good for our city and we must all work towards making our city a better place to work and live in,” she said.