Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa raised concerns over the delayed completion of the Mpigi-Busega Expressway, a critical infrastructure project spanning 35 kilometers. The project, initially slated for completion in 2021, is now facing a two-year setback, prompting Tayebwa to seek explanations from the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA).
Tayebwa, who played a role in approving the project in 2016, expressed disappointment at the slow progress, emphasizing that the road was expected to reduce travel time from Busega to Mpigi to only 18 minutes. However, the current pace and unexplained deviations from the original plan have raised traffic challenges, particularly on the Kibuye-Busega section.
The project, contracted to China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation and China Railway 19th Bureau Group (U) Ltd at a cost of sh547.5b, has faced criticism due to the lack of visible progress on the Kibuye-Busega segment, crucial for linking with the Kampala-Entebbe Expressway and Northern Bypass.
Tayebwa warned UNRA that the project’s success hinges on its ability to fulfill its intended purpose. He emphasized the importance of making the road meaningful and addressing the concerns of the public, including potential flooding risks faced by locals along the route.
Dan Kimosho, Chairperson of the Physical Infrastructure Committee, highlighted the need for the contractors to expedite the process by sourcing raw materials locally. Despite explanations citing geological and technical challenges, the contractors committed to completing the project within 48 months.
UNRA Executive Director, Allen Kagina, informed Tayebwa and MPs that the delays were attributed to geological and technical issues. The original alignment, if pursued, would have impacted the railroad and settlements built on dry ground. Consequently, the alignment was shifted to the edge of the swamp.
During the inspection, Deputy Speaker Tayebwa also evaluated the progress of the reconstruction of Katonga Bridge, impressed by the developments. The bridge, vital for diverting traffic from the old, flood-damaged structure, is expected to be completed by Christmas this year.