MASAKA. Construction of Nyendo–Bukakkata road project has finally kicked off.
Government has in the last two decades been promising to tarmac the 41-kilometre road.
President Museveni made the groundbreaking for the project last December, four years after all residents on the road were compensated and told to relocate.
Mr Samuel Ssebwato, a resident of Ssunga Village, Bukakkata Sub-county, said although he received his compensation package in 2014 to pave way for the construction works, he had lost hope of seeing the project kick off.
“I was surprised last week when I saw tractors and graders starting to work on the road. We are really happy that what has been a dream for many years is becoming a reality,” he said.
The road connects Masaka to Bukakkata Landing Site and Kalangala islands.
Mr Fredrick Mpuuga, a resident of Bukakkata Landing Site, said he was excited about the project and if the works proceed at the current pace, they will have a smooth road by 2021.
“That means we will be able to transport our fish to Masaka and Kampala without transport challenges,” he said.
Ms Sylvia Nsubuga, a resident of Bulayi Village, said they are happy that some of their relatives have been able to secure jobs as casual labourers.
Mr Herman Nzeimana, a foreman at the site, said: “We are only challenged by water logged areas which are slowing down our work, but we are harnessing efforts to push on.”
Mr Mark Ssali, the head of corporate communications of Uganda National Roads Authority, said the contractor started with earthworks at Mazigo Swamp and already about 4km has been covered.
“Our contractor is in the process of setting up a quarry and crusher to ease the project works as we are also in the process of securing a sub-contractor to deal with relocation of utilities such as water, electricity and telecommunication installations so that permanent work can commence,” Mr Ssali said.
He said the contractor was expected to complete work in a time frame of 24 months.
The contract to construct Nyendo-Bukakkata road valued at about Shs195b was awarded to Hunan Road and Bridge Construction Group Company Limited, a Chinese company, and Arab Contractors, an Egyptian company.
The Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa and OPEC Fund for International Development are funding the project.
If the project goes on as planned, it will spur economic development in Kalangala where government through a public-private partnership with Kalangala Infrastructure Services Ltd has already injected a lot of money to improve marine transport services, clean water access, electricity and roads construction.
Pledge. Mr Museveni first made the promise to have the road upgraded from gravel to tarmac in campaigns ahead of the 1996 general elections, but this was not fulfilled. The promise was made at a time when fish production and exports were at their highest.