The Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) has expressed fear that the ongoing sh92 billion project to construct an asphalt overlay on the 166km Kawempe-Kafu road may turn out to be more costly than anticipated.
This is because the completion deadline and the scope of works are not defined, the UNRA director of operations, Eng. Kimeze Ssebbugga has said.
"Our concern greatly lies in the fact that we may not achieve the overall objective of the project in time and at an increased cost," Ssebbugga wrote to AURECON the South African consulting firm last week.
The letter addressed to AURECON resident engineer, Pieter Meiring comes after the project deadline was indefinitely extended due to a change in the scope of work.
The initial deadline was February 2012.
According to the letter which Sebbugga signed on behalf of the UNRA executive director, Peter Sebanakitta, the project was initially to commence on August 3, 2010 and end on February 3, 2012.
He says the completion date was later extended to May 2012 at a cost to UNRA, due to a four-month delay by the government to appoint a consulting firm.
Even the May 2012 deadline could not be met due to an unexpected change in the scope of works resulting from the need to rehabilitate some sections of the road before applying the asphalt.
For that reason, UNRA is asking AURECON in the letter for advice on the ultimate scope of works and the implications thereof in terms of time and the outturn cost for each of the main bill items to completion of the project.
The laying of the asphalt layer which has so far covered 90km out of the 164km is aimed at strengthening the road pavement so that the road can last longer.
According to the project Manager, Eng. Bruno Musoke, the works are divided into three sections. One section will receive a 70mm overlay, another 65mm and the third will be 50mm thick.
The thicknesses vary according to the volume of traffic and the existing pavement strength of the section.
The works are being undertaken by Energoprojekt, a Serbian construction company and supervised by AURECON, a South African firm.
Musoke said the scope of work changed due to an urgent need to repair some failures which have emerged on the original pavement, especially on the Luweero-Kawempe section which supports heavy traffic.
After repairing the drainage and failures on the original surface, the asphalt works will resume in Kawempe going backwards to Luweero, where the asphalt works have so far stopped.
The asphalt overlay project of the Kawempe-Kafu road follows that of resealing which the same Serbian construction company completed.
The road, constructed in the late 1960s, is a critical part of the road corridor connecting Kampala to Northern Uganda, Northwestern Uganda, Southern Sudan and the eastern parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo.