Written by Joseph Olanyo
KAMPALA : Delays in engaging consultants of land compensation and the lack of cooperation from utility owners in relocating their infrastructure have stalled the development of interchanges on the Kampala Northern bypass.
Conflicts arising from contradicting family claimants have also affected the acquisition of land for the project.
Reports from Uganda National Roads Authority (Unra) indicate that the land compensation consultant was engaged after commencement of the road works, and this has created problems with access to the site due to delays on the additional land required for the construction of the separated junctions.
While touring the on-going construction works to upgrade the bypass into a dual carriageway last week, the Unra executive director, Allen Kagina, expressed concern over the delay in the completion of the interchanges, saying the roads authority cannot tolerate any more delays.
“We can’t continue handling scandals again,” Kagina said. “Unra has given all the money and there is no problem with money at all. So, I don’t want to hear these issues again,” she said.
An interchange is a highway intersection designed to permit traffic to move freely from one road to another without crossing another line of traffic. The Kampala northern bypass is designed to have six interchanges. Officials from Mota-Engil Engenharia E Construcao SA, the contractor of the project, said their work has been slowed down by issues of acquisition.
“We are working and trying our best as you can see. But the problem is that when you come to interchanges, there is no clean land without claimants,” said Francisco Franca, the head of Mota-Engil in Uganda.
Despite explanations from Mott MacDonald, the company hired to implement the Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) on the Kampala-Northern bypass, Kagina insisted that the process was taking long.
“The contractor has raised this issue over and over again, and this single process is taking too long,” she said.
“But I have given the consultant only two months to hand over all the interchanges to the contractor.”
The Unra boss said she is organizing a meeting with the utility owners to have this matter resolved. The government of Uganda, with assistance from the European Union (EU), is financing the capacity improvement of the Kampala Northern bypass.
The project will cost Euro 67 million. This includes Euro 37 million (54.9 per cent) grant from the EU, Euro 15.4 million (22.3 per cent) from the government of Uganda and Euro 15 million (22.8 per cent) loan from the European Investment Bank (IB).
The capacity improvement of the Kampala Northern bypass project commenced on July 14, 2014 and is expected to be completed on July 14, 2017. The project is being supervised by COWI A/s (Denmark) together with COWI Uganda Ltd.
Works include the construction of a dual carriageway for 17.5km out of the total 21km road, construction of five grade separated interchanges at Hoima road, Gayaza, Kyebando, Ntinda and Naalya junctions.
Works also include the installation of traffic lights and street lights at the six interchanges and construction of two metre-wide segregated concrete sidewalks for the full length of the road.