Projects that shaped Kampala in 2018

Wednesday December 19 2018

Traffic  and solar street lights mounte

Traffic and solar street lights mounted on the refurbished Kira Road Police Station junction. Photo by Alex Esagala 

By Amos Ngwomoya

Road network
Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) inherited a road network of 1,200km when it came into force in 2011 but when a new road inventory was conducted in 2015, it was established that the city had a total road network of 2110km.

Recent statistics from KCCA show that there has been significant improvement in the city’s road network. For instance, more than 210km of roads have been upgraded to bitumen and over 500km of gravel roads have been maintained, with dual lanes.

KCCA has also reconfigured and installed responsive functional traffic signals at 20 junctions, which include at Nakawa, Natete and Wandegeya, Fairway, Bwaise, Kiira road, Game Lugogo, Katikati, Kololo Airstrip, Naguru, Makerere Hill Road, Kiira Road, Mambule Road and Bakuli –Kasubi among others. Nine roads at Makerere University have also been rehabilitated.

Further to that, 4,988 streetlights have also been installed and 1,560 solar street lights, thus promoting ecofriendly initiatives.

At least 169km of drainage channels are maintained each year and in 2018, KCCA reconstructed 13km of community drainage lines.

The installation of the new traffic lights could not have come at a better time. The city has been grappling with depressing traffic jam which is partly caused by lack of signalised road junctions in the city.
Before KCCA, its predecessor Kampala City Council (KCC) had only eight signalled junctions. Today, KCCA intends to have at least 40.


Mr Andrew Kitaka, the KCCA Director of Engineering and Technical Services, told Daily Monitor in an interview recently that other roads set for rehabilitation include Nakawa-Ntinda, John Babiha Avenue (Acacia, Kololo), Kabuusu-Bunamwaya-Lweza and Lukuli.

Mr Kitaka said construction was supposed to commence last year, but there are still a few hitches in the procurement process which have delayed the works. “All the new roads will have traffic lights fitted with cameras to curb crime in the city and all junctions will be signalled. Kampala has for long been grappling with bad roads but with this project, the road network will improve,’ Mr Kitaka said.

The installed traffic lights also have a provision for pedestrians to press a button, which then sends signals to the Control Room to emit the green lights, allowing them to cross the road.

All the city infrastructural projects are being funded by World Bank at $183m (Shs673 billion)under the second phase of Kampala Infrastructural and Institutional Development Project (KIIDP-2), a five-year undertaking currently rolled across the city’s five divisions.

The project seeks to reconstruct and widen city roads, convert single roads into dual carriageways, upgrade gravel roads to tarmac, have signalled junctions, design and construct drainage channels and update multi-modal urban transport master plan.

This year KCCA unveiled designs to turn Namirembe Road and Luwum Street into non-motorised transport (NMT) lanes. The NMT project is meant to reduce traffic congestion by allowing pedestrians and cyclists to move uninterrupted.

However, the plan also provides for traffic flow, especially at turnoffs. Mr Dominic Ssemukutu, the KCCA supervisor of Mechanical Services, said although initial designs were purely for pedestrians and cyclists, motorists will also be catered for. “We are looking at putting in place turnoffs, gardens and lanes for both motorists and pedestrians. The NMT corridor remains the same but those are some of the changes in the designs,” Mr Ssemukutu said.

Construction works have already started on Namirembe Road and it’s likely to be closed to traffic early next year.

Traffic control system
Last month, KCCA unveiled a pilot traffic control centre to monitor and manage traffic in the city. The traffic control centre also monitors field radio communication among traffic wardens, ambulance and enforcement staff and security personnel.

The centre, currently operational, monitors traffic at 12 city signalised junctions through surveillance cameras. The junctions includeat Kabira 1, Kabira 2, Kira Road Police Station, Fairway, Bwaise, Junjju, Makerere Main Gate and Gaddafi Road.

Others are at Kyadondo Road, Sir Apollo Kaggwa Road, Nakulabye junction and Bukesa next to Mengo Senior Secondary School on Hoima Road. The project was funded by World Bank under the KIIDP-2 project.

Other funders include National Information Technology Authority- Uganda (NITA-U), C-Square Ltd and Uganda Police Directorate of Traffic and Safety Directorate.

“The traffic control centre is also capable of remote strategic control and it can remotely monitor and correct faults at the signals. For instance, if one of the red lights at the junction fails, a notification will be sent to the in-station unit so that people in the control room can alert traffic officers,” former KCCA executive director Jennifer Musisi said before her departure mid this month.

KCCA further plans to expand the reach of the traffic control centre with more signalised and connected junctions in the next four years.
According to KCCA plan, the future traffic control room shall have a wall map showing the road network, monitor traffic conditions on the roads, parking guidance and disaster management facilities.

CCTV cameras
In July, government started installation of closed circuit (CCTV) cameras in all urban centres, borders and highways.

The first batch of the 5,552 CCTV cameras needed for the nationwide system were delivered by Huawei, a Chinese firm. Police told this newspaper in August that Kampala alone will take 3,233 CCTV cameras.

The installation of the cameras followed high-profile murder cases in the city, including the assassination of former Buyende District police commander Muhammad Kirumira and former Arua Municipality MP Ibrahim Abiriga, among others.

In May, Parliament passed a Shs60b supplementary budget to finance the first phase of installation of the cameras. Police wanted $124m (about Shs458b) for the implementation of the project.

The money is to be allocated in three instalments of $17.4m (Shs64b), $61m (Shs225b) and $45m (Shs166b) if the CCTV cameras are to be installed in all major towns and busy highways across the country as per the President’s directive.

The CCTV cameras can ably detect number plates of vehicles and faces of suspects.

Several drainage channels have been completed to curb flooding in the city. The channels include Nabisalu, Scout lane, Ganafa, Kibuye-police, Kanakulya, Mugerwa, Lubuga, St Benedict and Kabugo close, Nalweyiso, Kabaluka, St Dennis, and Nakinyuguzi, all in Makindye Division.

In Rubaga Division, they are Nte yaffa, Nabunya, Kiwunya, Kiwunya-Nasma, Chwa II Namungoona, Chwa II Namungoona, Chwa II Nakulabye, Kabowa, Ssebanja and Kimera.

The completed channels in Kawempe are Lubigi I, Tula I, Tula II, Kaddugala, Nsamba, Gabunga, Yelemiya, Ssekenge, Mathel and Bajabaseka.
Central Division has Kakkajo channel while Nakawa Division has Kasokoso-Mutungo channel.

KCCA has also earmarked construction of three city drainage channels to mitigate perennial flooding.

They are Lubigi and Nakamiro in Kawempe and Nalukolongo in Rubaga.
Unlike Lubigi and Nalukolongo, which are primary channels, Nakamiro is a secondary channel that discharges into Lubigi.

The three drainage channels will be upgraded under the KIIDP-2 project.
The designs were completed but KCCA said the chief government valuer has not released the report for the affected persons to be compensated before construction commences.

The construction of these three channels is part of the 2017 drainage master plan, an updated version of the 2003 drainage master plan, to develop a new implementation programme to manage storm water drainage.

Transport Master plan
The new Multi-Modal Urban Transport Master plan for the Greater Kampala Metropolitan Area (GKMA) is anticipated to mitigate the city traffic jam. Under the new transport plan, taxis and boda-bodas will be phased out and replaced with the Bus Transit System and Rail Transit system.

Non-motorised corridors will also be designated to cater for pedestrians. Currently, there is no non-motorised corridor in Kampala Metropolitan area. The master plan is also part of KIIDP-2 project.
Overall, it seeks to improve Kampala’s road network and drainage system.
According to the plan, KCCA will construct and operate a robust Mass Rapid Transport System with buses, Light Rail Transit and cable cars by 2040.

The plan is yet to be launched by KCCA. Once implemented, KCCA says the new transport infrastructure will encourage commuters to use sustainable transport modes such as walking, cycling, and buses.

The master plan, drawn by ROM Transportation Engineering, Cambridge Systematics and TNM Consultancies, was undertaken between July 2016 and May this year.

Mr Jacob Byamukama, the KCCA deputy director for Roads Management, said the Multi-modal Urban Transport Master plan is aligned to the Kampala Physical Development Plan, which aims at creating a well-organised and modern urban metropolitan transport system.

But he said the plan will be implemented in five phases; pilot phase (2018-2021), short-term (2022-2025), mid-term (2026-2030), long-term (2031-2035) and the horizon phase (2036-2035).

The pilot phase includes immediate projects that will be run partly on existing conditions and are relatively easy to implement. These cost-effective and critical projects include non-motorised Infrastructure such as walkways, taxi fleet renewal, control centre, traffic management and other parking policies.

The short-term phase will build directly on the foundations laid by the pilot phase which includes operational and maintenance investments.
As part of the phased concept of the master plan, this phase also includes major progress in the design-and-build parts of the bus system and piloting the design for heavy rail infrastructure and building of others, which include two Light Rail Transit routes and one metro route.

The mid-term phase focuses on three important aspects: operation costs of the metro route and the first LRT route, the finalisation of the Bus Rail Transit build and design, and the intense building of the rail-based MRT to create a network for the phase.

The long-term phase focuses on operation of three Light Rail Transit routes and two metro routes as well as all Bus Transit routes.
It also includes the final design stages of all the remaining MRT.
Lastly, the Horizon phase includes all operational costs and finalisation of the network.