KCCA should do things differently to fix roads

Friday November 9 2018

A flooded section of Jinja Road.

A flooded section of Jinja Road. Rains pounded the city, sweeping away houses, billboards and ageing trees. PHOTO BY Abubaker Lubowa. 

By Editor

The Uganda Road Fund (URF) has released Shs152 billion for the renovation of roads in the city, municipalities, town councils, districts and sub-counties (See Daily Monitor, Wednesday, November 7). The fund is part of Shs527 billion allocated for road maintenance countrywide in the current financial year.
But in the case of Kampala, this fund couldn’t have come at better time. While urban centres countrywide need to use this money to ensure their roads and streets are in good motorable state, the pressure to achieve this is much higher for Kampala. What with the nearly constant traffic jam that often brings the city to a near standstill. This is complicated by the absence of public transport system. What prevails is the unregulated taxi operations, many boda boda riders, and big number of pedestrians, especially during day. All this mix happens against a backdrop of roads and streets that are largely narrow. They are also characterised by potholes, broken and sharp edges, and no walkways.
This dire situation gets compounded in the rainy season, like the case is today, when floods literally submerge some of the roads making them impassable. Therefore, KCCA should grab URF’s release of money for roads renovation with utmost zeal.
However, the biggest challenge for KCCA is how and on what they will use the money. Our take is that the Authority should stop doing the same thing over and again and expect to get different results. It is critical that KCCA goes beyond temporarily filling potholes and patching-up sections of roads which get easily destroyed by traffic or washed away by floods every after a downpour.
To see improvement in urban mobility, KCCA should lay emphasis on quality of work they do even if it means renovating less kilometres of roads than is projected. With time, the quality repairs should extend to cover more kilometres as opposed to doing shoddy works over many roads.
Take, for instance, the streets in Industrial Area which are repaired today and tomorrow they collapse.
Importantly, KCCA needs to work on the city drainage channels as part of the renovation. Why would a simple rain result in the flooding of the city? It is because either channels are clogged, are inadequate for the expanding city or are too narrow for the volume of water they can convey.
KCCA must also recognise the fact that city roads or streets must have walkways for pedestrians. Pedestrians in Kampala, unlike other cities, often struggle for the same space with motorists. This must be stopped.