New Vision (Kampala)

Uganda: War On Traffic Jam - the Big Plan

In a bid to reduce traffic jam in the city, Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) has unveiled a new development plan to construct over ten major roads, beginning this year.

The Kampala Physical Development Plan (PDP), which covers the city's development between 2012 and 2040, also proposes the creation of road tolls.

Three ring roads, express way, urban freeways, Northern and Southern Bypass and radial roads will be constructed in areas known as Greater Kampala Metropolitan Area (GKMA).

Areas include Nsangi, Goma, Nakisunga, Nansana and Entebbe. In the same areas, KCCA proposes to create five satellite cities.

It proposes new roads with two lanes per direction and free flow speed of 90km per hour. The plan also involves road marking, signs and road upgrading.

The $39b road network programme will commence this year, according to PDP. Over the longer term (2023-2040), further investment of $124b will be required for infrastructure and employment opportunities

KCCA also proposes that a road network should be constructed from Luzira to Nakisunga, through Lake Victoria.

Speaking to New Vision recently, KCCA's director for physical planning, Joseph Semambo, explains that the radial roads will be created from the city centre, moving outwards, then connected to northern and southern bypass.

The radial roads will be interconnected with the three ring roads. According to the plan, the three ring roads are divided into inner, middle and outer.

"We shall construct the southern ring, which will be connected to Nakisunga in Mukono district. If one wants to go to areas near the city, one will not need to first connect to the city centre. The cardinal principle is to fight traffic jam," Semambo explains.

He says the express way will connect east to the west of the city. He adds that it will run parallel to the railway reserves.

Under this plan, the southern and northern bypass will occupy Jinja road, Gayaza road, Masaka road, Hoima road and Bombo road.

Semambo reveals that KCCA has already acquired permission from the Uganda Railways Corporation to use the land bordering the railway line in the city.

"We shall evict those occupying railway reserves. The reserve space is about 60-70 metres wide," he says.

Asked whether people occupying areas designed for construction of major roads will be evicted, Semambo says the authority agreed to build the roads on top of wetlands to minimise demolishing buildings.

A number of development donors active in Kampala have shown interests to fund this project, including World Bank, European Union, Africa Development Bank, UN-Habitat, UNICEF and UNESCO.

If no new roads are constructed within few years, experts say it will cause major gridlock due to increasing population and a high standard of living.

"Even with large investments in the road network, the city will still experience congestion and slow speeds during peak hours," the plan reads.

Therefore, to obtain a sustainable transport system in the long run, consultants recommend that the authority should develop an attractive Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) in the transport sector. This means that for the first stage, MRT will be based on buses.

The consultants also suggest that KCCA introduces and enforces strict demand traffic management strategies like congestion pricing, parking management and low emission zones.

Experts want to coordinate and integrate the taxi service with bus operations. The taxi routes should feed and complement bus transit routes, but not compete with them.

They say a new ticketing system should be introduced, to allow more ticket options, including the ability to have a seasonal tickets.

A recent House Hold Survey conducted in 2011 revealed that almost 60% of all activities made by people with low income in GKMA are done through walking.

The survey said the main reason for not using public transport is the high cost because travellers pay for every trip they make.

Currently, the cost of a single trip varies between sh1,000 and sh2,000 in the city.

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