Uganda: Cost of Upgrading Northern By-Pass Rises By Shs163b

Kampala — The cost of upgrading the 17.5km Northern By-Pass into a dual carriage has shot to €106m (Shs448b) from €67.4m (Shs285b).

The new cost is almost three times the original cost, pushing the project completion deadline from May 2017 to December 2023, according to Uganda National Roads Authority (Unra), because the initial cost was €40m before it increased to €67.4m

According to a November 2018 progress report on capacity improvement of the Kampala Northern By-Pass commissioned by Unra, the new cost has been attributed to delays in acquisition of project land and an increase in the scope of work.

While explaining the cause of the project's delay, Unra says it is due to lack of full rights to access and possess the sites.

"The challenges delaying the timely land acquisition are right from design improvement, disputed compensation amounts, family disputes over ownership and absentee landlords," reads part of the report.

A revised cost estimate is still under review by Unra. Other additional works include slip lane on Gayaza-Bwaise Road, repair of existing worn out shoulders and construction of a new box culvert.

The extra €66m (about Shs279b) is more than the €52.2m (about Shs233b) the European Union paid (EU) for the implementation of the first phase.

The current expansion of the Northern By-Pass is the second phase, the first phase was completed in October 2009.

Confirmations

Unra's spokesperson Mark Ssali confirmed the new bills for upgrading of the Northern By-Pass but denied the project had stalled.

"Right now compensation is almost done even with the challenges," Mr Ssali said.

As of November 2018, Unra had only paid for 41.7 acres of the required land valued at Shs56.8b. The total amount of land required is 54 acres valued at Shs72.5b.

The Northern By-Pass is part of the Northern corridor.

Under the new arrangement, the contractor, Mota Engil Engenharoia E. Construcao SA, has to provide a duct to accommodate utilities like electricity and water.

The contractor also has to extend the Hoima North Box culvert and carry out new works where the Northern By-Pass meets the Entebbe-Kampala Expressway.

There is also going to be foot paths built at two different points of the Northern By-Pass to save pedestrians from accidents.

There is also a proposal to replace double bituminous surface treatment with asphalt concrete.

Additional works

The contractor also has to provide slope erosion control and provision of pedestrian access to footpaths. There are also costs associated with review of drainage design along the project road.

"All these additional works have led to increase in cost from €67.4m (about Shs285b)to an estimate of €106m (about Shs448b)," the report reads in part.

The press and information officer at the EU, Mr Emmanuel Gyezaho, when asked whether the Union was to pay for the extra works said the extra cost would be borne by government.

Mr Gyezaho said upgrading of the Northern By-Pass was a joint venture between the EU and Uganda.

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