Commuters and vehicle owners in Kampala are growing increasingly frustrated as a major road reconstruction project progresses slowly, leading to deteriorating road conditions and various associated problems.
The Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) initiated the ambitious Kampala City Roads Rehabilitation Project (KCRRP) to address the city’s crumbling road infrastructure. The project was intended to begin between February and September, but progress has been minimal.
Instead of substantial road reconstruction, KCCA has implemented temporary patching measures known as “forward maintenance.” These quick fixes have resulted in uneven road surfaces, with potholes reappearing shortly after repairs. As a result, commuters face a challenging journey filled with potholes and uneven terrain.
One significant concern is the increased wear and tear on vehicles, leading to higher maintenance costs for car owners. The persisting road issues have also contributed to traffic congestion, accidents, and safety hazards.
The Africa Development Bank (AfDB), the project’s financier, acknowledges the delays but remains optimistic about the project’s eventual completion. According to George Adongo Makajuma, a principal engineer at AfDB, the project has faced setbacks related to the COVID-19 pandemic but is still on course.
The KCRRP, approved in November 2019, was signed off almost two years later in May 2021. It is scheduled for completion by December 31, 2026, with the last disbursement of funds expected by December 31, 2024.
Despite the frustration among road users, the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) has reported increased revenue from sectors such as wholesale and retail trade, vehicle repair, and motorcycles over the last three financial years.
During a recent press conference at Parliament, Members of Parliament expressed their dissatisfaction with the state of roads in Kampala. They urged KCCA to take action to address the road issues promptly.
The poor road conditions are taking a toll on vehicle owners, resulting in higher repair expenses. Potholes, rough surfaces, and debris damage tires, suspension systems, and other vehicle components, making maintenance costlier.
Road users also face challenges related to traffic jams, unpredictable road conditions, and additional expenses for vehicle repair and medication due to accidents caused by bad roads.
The KCRRP includes various components such as road construction, drainage improvements, traffic junction enhancements, non-motorized transport facilities, and more. Several contracts have been awarded, and work has commenced on some road sections, but challenges have slowed progress.
While the road reconstruction project faces delays, commuters and businesses in Kampala continue to endure the consequences of deteriorating road conditions, with relief not expected in the near future. Discussion about the project’s completion timelines will take place after a midterm review in 2024.
The delays in the project’s commencement were partly due to loan facility ratification delays, pushing procurement activities back by almost two years. Despite the challenges, efforts are being made to accelerate progress and improve road conditions in Kampala.