Uganda National Roads Authority has hired a French company to help carry out maintenance and manage road toll of the Entebbe Expressway.
In a statement released on Monday, UNRA said they had hired Egis Roads Operation S. A through a “competitive international bidding process.”
“UNRA handed over the site/expressway to Egis on 24th May, 2021 to commence operation and maintenance services with the objective of providing high-quality road management services along the Expressway enabling value-added services to the users of the toll road,” the statement said.
“Accordingly, in the first 06 months, the firm will provide road safety facilities, expressway lighting, security services, axle-load control/monitoring system, routine road maintenance and emergency maintenance works to ensure an appropriate level of service excellence along the expressway to the benefit of its users, at all times.”
The roads body said the French firm has since hired Pinnacle Security Limited and Abubaker Technical Services to ensure it sub-contracts 30% of its operations to local companies with a promise to further increase the percentage of operations to local contractors.
“To ensure safety interventions in case of accidents and to assist motorists in case of breakdowns, Pinnacle Security is now patrolling the Expressway on a 24/7 basis. On stand-by are dedicated intervention vehicles including a fire truck, an ambulance and towing services,” UNRA said.
UNRA added that in order to reduce accidents, the French company will provide several safety improvements like rumble strips before the toll plazas for speed control and additional traffic signs at accident-prone points including improvements in the drainage system to avoid water puddles.
In the past, there have been several incidents of vandalisation of the fence along the expressway but according to UNRA, the new company will install a new fence.
“Additionally, the installation of lighting along the entire route will as well be carried out in accordance with the contracted timeframe.”
Last month, the Ministry of Works and Transport Permanent Secretary, Waswa Bageya said they are working with the Ministry of Finance to have the national road toll strategy gazetted by adding that the amendment of the Roads Act was meant to enable the enforcement of the 2019 tolling policy.
In their statement on Monday, UNRA said that developments are under way to install the electrical infrastructure system to ensure functionality before the tolling operations.
“Commencement of the tolling operations and the rates to be paid by the different road users shall be communicated to the general public after clearance from the Ministry of Works and Transport and the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development.”
The Kampala-Entebbe Expressway that connects the Northern Bypass at Busega to Entebbe International Airport is Uganda’s first ever toll road.
The $476m(shs1.8 trillion) road has two lanes in each direction and comprises two road sections – a 36.94km-long section and a 12.68km-long link road.
The toll road has four interchanges at Busega, Kajjansi, Mpala and Lwaza but also features 19 overbridges and 18 underpasses to provide access to the area around the road.
A total of three main toll plazas are built on the expressway at Busega, Mpala and Kajjansi with the Busega toll plaza featuring six toll gates, while the Mpala and Kajjansi have five gates each.
The expressway also boasts of the 1.5km –long suspension bridge over the Nambigirwa swamp which is the longest bridge in East Africa.
The road constructed by China Communication Construction Company is expected to ease traffic jam from Uganda’s capital , Kampala to Entebbe as well as reducing the travel time for motorists to the airport from 120 minutes in the past using the narrow old Entebbe road to only 30 minutes.