UNRA lines up 15 roads for upgrade

UNRA executive director Allen Kagina. PHOTO/FILE 

What you need to know:

  • The road projects are expected to start this year.

The Uganda National Roads Authority (Unra) has lined up at least 15 new roads for construction covering a total of 825kms to increase mobility and subsequently shore up economic growth.
Overall, Unra has been able to construct at least a 114.45km road network.
The authority’s executive director, Ms Allen Kagina, made the revelation yesterday while presenting the road agency’s half year performance for FY2021/2022 to journalists in Kampala.

Ms Kagina said the projects will commence this year but didn’t disclose the exact period and funds to be spent.
“Unra is progressing with the procurement of the respective contractors that have received clearance. Implementation of the earmarked projects will commence in 2022 once the procurement is concluded and the financing arrangements have been finalised by the Ministry of Finance,” Ms Kagina said.
She said Unra is currently upgrading 20 road development projects (new construction and upgrading from paved bituminous standards) covering 1,437kms, adding that at least 114.45km were achieved between July and December 2021.

Ms Kagina said the agency’s target is to increase the paved road stock by 415km, of which 380km will be along the national road network while 34.5km will be town roads.
The roads include Kampala Northern Bypass (phase II), Masindi park junction and Tangi junction-Para-Buliisa, Hoima-Butiaba-Wanseko, Buhimba-Nalweyo-Bulamagi and Bulamagi-Igayaza- Kakukumiro, Masindi-Biiso, Hohwa-Nyairongo-Kyarusheesha-Butoole, and Kabaale-Kiziranfumbi, Kitala-Garenge, and Rukungiri-Kihihi-Ishaka/Kanungu.

Asked about why the Busega-Mpigi Expressway project delayed, Unra’s head of road development, Mr Alfred Ogik, said there was a swamp which need to be filled first.
“The contractor got a quarry about 42km from the swamp and this partly caused the delay. There were also issues of compensation which needed to be addressed first,” Mr Ogik said.
Unra will also complete the upgrading of 35.2km of town access roads within various towns and municipalities that are not part of the national road network but connect to the cities and municipalities.

These are Bulima-Kabwoya Town roads (3km),Kyenjojo-Kabwoya Town roads (11km), Kigumba-Bulima Town roads (15km), Gulu Logistics Hub Access road (2.2km), and Entebbe Children’s Hospital Access road (4km).
The roads that are being currently rehabilitated include Namunsi-Sironko/Muyembe-Kapchorwa- section 2, Masaka Town roads, Nakalama-Tirinyi-Mbale, Mityana-Mubende, periodic maintenance of Kampala-Jinja road, Hima-Katunguru phase II, and Nakalama-Tirinyi-Mbale road.
Unra has also continued to work on 38 bridges whose progress is at different stages. At least eight of these bridges will be completed in the FY2021/2022.
Of the eight bridges, SironkoBridge on Mbale-Sironko road and Kibimba Bridge on Kampala-Uganda/Kenya border (Malaba) have substantially been completed.

On the operation and maintenance of the Kampala-Entebbe Expressway (KEE), Ms Kagina said the contract, which was awarded to Egis to collect the toll, is implemented using the one-off design and construction works, admeasured road maintenance works and performance operation and maintenance services.

Entebbe expressway works
The three categories include among others, road safety facilities, lighting, tolling system, and independent traffic monitoring system, emergency maintenance works, and weighbridge operations.
Ms Kagina said the tolling system, which commenced on January 8, has had tangible results.

For instance, she said the daily traffic through plazas averages at 20,000 vehicles which is above the initial projection of 14,000 vehicles.
“Total collection, that is from the points of sale and toll lanes, from the beginning of the tolling operation from January 8 to February 8 [one month] was Shs3.08b,” she said.

Ms Kagina also said weighbridge operations fully resumed on June 6, 2021 following the relaxation of Covid-19 measures.
Average weighbridge availability as of December 2021 stood at 79 percent against annual target of 95 percent. 
A total of 401,622 vehicles were weighed in the last six months and 14,710 were found to be overloaded, collecting Shs460m in penalties. The authority also added a temporary ferry at Katunguru in the last six months.