Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) has Thursday awarded the contract for the construction of the Busega – Mpigi expressway to Chinese firm, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC).
The 23.7km long road will be a dual carriage (4 lanes) expressway limited to access road facility and is part of the Northern Corridor which connects Rwanda, Burundi and Eastern Congo to the port of Mombasa in Kenya.
The project starts in Kyengera outside Kampala and heads southwest wasrds continuing in a parallel alignment south of the Kampala – Kasese railway line for about 1.5kms at Maya. It then turns southwards and continues in thus southerly direction until it merges with the existing road alignment at Lugala.
From Lugala, it continues for 3.6kms on the existing Kampala – Masaka road past Mpigi. It will have 5 interchanges.
The Executive Director of UNRA, Allen Kagina told reporters that the expressway will cost Uganda Shs 547.5bn and is financed through two loans from the African Development Bank and African Development Fund worth USD 150 million.
Government says the road will improve sustainable road access and quality transport service levels in the western and southwestern parts of Uganda. It will reduce travel time as well as road maintenance costs and vehicle operating costs.
It will also support regional integration and cross border trade with Rwanda and DRC as well as facilitate oil exploration and extraction activities.
The contractor who has been given 30 months to complete the works (and thereafter a year of defects liability) will be supervised by Dohwa engineering Co. Ltd in joint venture with IDCG Engineering Group and in association with Tamp Blessed 3 Ms JV Ltd.
According to Kagina, 9kms of land have so far been acquired and owners fully compensated. A valuation report for additional 3.7kms has been approved and awaits funds for compensation. As such, 64 percent of the right of way is available (alignment also goes through 2.5kms of swamp and forest) for the contractor to commence works.
Kagina said that despite the fact that the bids were submitted two years ago, the awarding of the contract was severely stalled by “an unusually very high number of complaints from whistleblowers”
“In compliance with the law, we are required to investigate these complaints. Unfortunately, most of theses complaints have turned out to be false and lacking any merit,” she said.
Nonetheless, the cost to the country in terms of delayed service delivery, commitment fees (for delayed utilization of the loan proceeds) and loss in value for money due to inflation, is enormous, Kagina said.