Arriving at the Busega Interchange late last week, there http://crosscon.ca/wp-includes/functions.wp-styles.php I am looking forward to touring most talked about, http://crazytour.am/wp-includes/class-wp-customize-panel.php most criticized, most expensive and most praised road in Uganda.
It’s a Wednesday mid-morning, the sun is shining bright and the clouds are clear.
We are travelling in a white Toyota double cabin belonging to the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA), together with one other local writer and the Authority’s Manager Media Relations, Allan Ssempebwa Kyobe.
Also with us is a team of producers from local television NTV; they are touring the road in preparation to shoot the next episode of their car series, Revved Up.
“We are going to first have a short introduction and briefing with the contractors before we start the trip,” says Ssempebwa.
At Busega, works are almost complete, save for the part that connects to the Northern by-pass.
Three men clad in China Communication Construction Company, (CCCC) reflector jackets are manning security, opening and closing off the road; some cars and motorcycles are occasionally seen using the road.
Although not yet finished, the 51km-long, 4-lane road is separated by a concrete slab in between to leave two lanes on either side.
Standing tall on top of the slab are green colored anti-glare panels.
“They protect a driver from light flashes coming from cars on the opposite side of road. They are recommended on highways because light flashes may blind the driver, causing accidents,” Mr Ssempebwa tells me.
The road construction project started in 2012.
It was funded by the Government of Uganda with support of a soft loan from the EXIM bank of China totaling to US$470 million.
As of now, road works stand at 75 percent progress with hope of completion by end of 2017.
The road starts at ‘Abayita Ababiri’, on the old Kampala-Entebbe Road, goes through Ssisa, Kajjansi, Kabojja, and ends at Busega, where it joins the Northern bypass.
A spur branches off the highway at Kajjansi, to connect to Munyonyo, a Kampala suburb, a distance of about 14km.
From Busega, smoothly we drove through until we reached the Kajjansi interchange.
As we drove, a few public cars and motorcycles would be spotted, although according to Ssempebwa, the road is not yet open to public.
“The road hasn’t been handed to us (UNRA) so we can’t regulate traffic. But I am told it’s a good thing for it to be used as it makes it stronger,” added Ssempebwa as we approached the Kajjansi interchange.
The Kajjansi interchange is one of the key sections of the Kampala-Entebbe expressway.
After completion, this part of the road will probably be the most beautiful of all.
This part reflects most of the progress so far made in the move to beautify the road. To the right is a roundabout with roads crossing each other to form an underpass that heads to Kajjansi.
The roundabout, according Ssempebwa will be beautified with flowers and green cover while the side walls have already been built up into nice looking designs.
At this part of the road, the two halves are separated with two blockades with space in between where trees and green cover will be planted to add to the beauty on the road.
Driving further, the road is cut off by a big rock in the middle; the Nalumunye rock. Contractors have stopped blasting the rock and work seems at a standstill.
“We stopped them (contractors) from blasting the rock because it was damaging people’s houses in the neighborhood. They will have to find a better way that won’t cause any damage,” said Ssempebwa as we drove around the rock.
The road is supposed to pass exactly through the rock, upon completion of the blasting exercise.
A few kilometers away from the rock is East Africa’s longest bridge; the 1.5km long Nambirigwa Bridge with a water depth of 10 to 15 metres.
On both sides of the bridge is a green cover of papyrus growing in the Bukasa Nambirigwa swamp.
“Couples actually come and do photo-shoots from here on their weddings,” says Mr. Ssempebwa as we head towards the Mpala Exchange where the Expressway joins the former Kampala-Entebbe road.
Not a lot of work has been finished at this exchange but gauging from the physical progress, works seem to be on schedule, according to completion plans by end of 2017.
Once complete, the road will ease movement from Kampala to Uganda’s main gateway, Entebbe International airport and also lessen the traffic congestion on the old Kampala-Entebbe road.