Motorists will start paying for the newly constructed Kampala- Entebbe Expressway in the next financial year, the State Minister for Works, Gen.Katumba Wamala has said.
In June last year, President Museveni officially commissioned the 49.56km four-lane shs1.8 trillion expressway constructed by China Construction and Communication Company.
Speaking at the launch of the Road Act 2019 on Wednesday, Gen.Katumba said they had been delayed by the absence of an enabling law to give a green light to tolling but said this was passed and assented to by the president.
“Those who have been enjoying it free of charge should know that starting the next financial year, they will have to pay something to use the road,” Gen.Katumba said.
According to Eng. Isaac Wani, the Director Network Planning & Engineering in UNRA, the willingness to pay survey conducted among road users highlighted the manageable fee that motorists will part with, noting that the report was handed over to the ministry and that it will guide on the fees to be charged.
“We take this assessment (survey) into consideration because it what the road users will be able to pay. It will be affordable.”
He said there has been a delay after procurement of the road tolling equipment when the operators of the equipment were not locally available because of being new technology.
“The operators are not locally available but the contractors are trying to structure so that they work with colleagues locally to execute some of the works that can be done by the locals. It has been a complex structuring and it is the reason the process seems a little bit slower,” Wani added.
“We expect this process to be completed within the first quarter of next year.”
According to the Road Act 2019, the development, operation, management and maintenance of toll roads shall be supported by the use of appropriate technologies including Intelligence Transport Systems, Electronic Toll Collections and Asset Management Systems.
The new law exempts emergency vehicles including fire brigade, ambulance and the presidential convoy from paying the road toll.
Gen.Katumba Wamala said the road tolls will attract private sector investments through public-private partnerships.
“In many countries, this has happened. Like in South Korea, they started by borrowing to construct expensive roads, they went into generating a special fund for constructing roads and now they have moved into public-private partnerships that private partners develop the infrastructure and coop their money from the infrastructure,” the State Minister for Works said.
He said the move that is to start with the Entebbe expressway will also extend to the Busega Mpigi expressway and many other roads yet to be constructed.
“The good thing with these roads( toll) there is also an option of using the other road which his free when one does not have money. The one for paying gives advantage to the user to enjoy the benefit of paying money and not being inconvenienced.”