Mpigi – Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has, on Tuesday, December 22, commissioned the Busega-Mpigi Expressway with hopes of easing traffic flow on the Kampala-Masaka highway.
The four -lane, dual carriage 23.7 km expressway projected to cost to a tune of UGX547Bm will stretch from Busega in Kampala to Kalagala Village (Mpigi).
A consortium of Chinese companies, including China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), and China Railway 19th Bureau Group Company Limited, which won the contract, are concentrating on clearing, grubbing and removing top soil, which is unsuitable for construction works.
The ongoing works started from Katende Village in Kiringente Sub-county and continue towards Mpigi Town Council.
The 23.7KM Busega-Mpigi Expressway is part of the Northern Corridor, East Africa’s transport network which will connect Uganda, Kenya, Burundi, Rwanda, and Sudan.
While addressing NRM leaders in Greater Mpigi, President Museveni, also party chairman, highlighted the purpose infrastructure plays in linking Ugandans to markets across Uganda and the East African region.
“This is part of the international route connecting Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and Eastern Congo to the Port of Mombasa in Kenya. We are widening our market base,” said Museveni via his official twitter account.
It will be designed to consist of four lanes, dual carriageway and will have four major interchanges to facilitate interconnection at points such as Maya, Nsangi, Nabbingo and Lugala in Wakiso District off the Northern Bypass and the Entebbe-Expressway which is also being constructed.
The road upon completion projected to take 36 months and another 12 defects liability period, will traffic out of the congested Kampala Central Business District.
UNRA has also signed a board consultant firm which will design, review and supervise the project for US $3.1m. About 490 people will be affected by the project, according to UNRA records.
In an interview with one of Uganda’s dailies, The Daily Monitor, Mr Allan Ssempebwa, the deputy head of public and corporate affairs at Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA), revealed that the contractor kicked off activity in November 2019 sourcing the necessary materials, equipment and auxiliary services.
After a wave of the COVID-19, operations were suspended with the disruptions created by the novel coronavirus subsequent to a lockdown that was sanction by the Government in March 2020 in efforts to curb its spread.
“…the challenges encountered affected us so much. Some of them include the Covid-19 pandemic which has affected mobilisation of some equipment from overseas and movement of labour locally,” he said.
He added: “Alternatives are being sought so as to mitigate the impact on the project.”
The project is set to benefit the people of the Mpigi and Wakiso given labour is sourced from the locales – directly improving the generation of income and better household earnings.
“The contractor is recruiting workers to undertake construction works from Mpigi and Wakiso districts and other parts of Uganda. Advertisements are shared locally in Mpigi and Wakiso to encourage workers to apply,” he revealed.
Mr Ssempebwa said at least 810 project affected persons have so far been compensated and process is still ongoing.
It is not peculiar to appreciate that the improvement of infrastructure breeds better access to auxiliary services, development, among others. One key conundrum to note is demand of land perpetrated by better access has seen plots in Mpigi and Wakiso rise.
“When the expressway is completed, it will be much easier to connect to Kampala than before and this will help our farmers to access the markets on time. It will also attract more investors and create employment opportunities,” Mr Charles Nsobya, the Mpigi District planner.
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He said the price of land in the area has doubled in the past one year as a result of the project with a 100ft by 50ft plot costing Shs30m up from Shs15m.