15 December 2012

Uganda: MPs Yet to Approve By-Pass Funds

The Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) is awaiting parliament's approval of funding that has been secured for the expansion of the Northern Bypass.

The European Union and the European Investment Bank have approved funding of 60m euros for this expansion and the construction of a bypass in Mbarara town.

"If the loan is approved by Parliament this month, we will have a contractor by April and the works will kick off in June," Alinange told New Vision.

The expansion project will see the entire Northern Bypass become a dual-carriage road. Currently, only 3.5kms of the 21kms that constitute the by-pass is dual-carriage.

"We have made some changes to the design of the road. We are going to remove all the roundabouts and we shall replace them with flyovers.

At the end of the project, one will be able to drive straight from Busega to Namboole," said Dan Alinange, UNRA's spokesman.

Due to these changes in the design, UNRA says it is in the process of acquiring more land for the expansion. Most of this land will be acquired from areas like Kalerwe, Kisaasi and Nansana.

"During the first phase, we purchased most of the land we needed. We bought a corridor of 60 metres. Because of this, we expect to use about sh15b on compensations," said Alinange.

In Mbarara, the roads authority approximates that about sh10b will be used for compensation.

One of the reasons for the delay of the first phase of the by-pass was failure to acquire land in time. This time, the roads agency says they are moving faster to avoid such delays.

The by-pass will be expanded in preparation for the completion of the Entebbe Express Highway that is due in four years' time.

"The new Entebbe Express highway will feed into the Northern By-pass. You cannot have a big highway feeding into a smaller road. We have to expand the bypass to accommodate the traffic from the express highway," reasons Alinange.

UNRA says issues of security and road safety, which have plagued the bypass, will be addressed with the expansion.

"We are going to have more footbridges, pavements and more lighting to ensure the safety of road users. Currently, we have lights only at the junctions," said Alinange.

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