UNRA starts works to install 1000 lights along Entebbe Expressway

Roads body, UNRA  has kicked off works to install lights along the 51.5 km long Kampala-Entebbe Expressway.

According to the UNRA media relations manager, Allan Ssempebwa, the works kicked off with excavations this week.

We are now undertaking excavations along the expressway in preparation for installation of cables and poles,”Ssempebwa told the Nile Post on Wednesday.

“We are looking at over 1,000 light poles and bulbs along the entire mainline expressway from Mpala to Busega.“

Asked about the time frame, the UNRA media relations manager was not committal about the date of completion of the installation works.

“We have commenced. We hope to have some lights up by end of this year and continue all through next year till works are finished.”

He said the cost of the installation of the lights is covered under the shs102 billion contract sum for the operation and maintenance of the expressway which was handed over to French firm, Egis and will run for five years.

Background

The development comes on the backdrop of a suit in the High Court by lawyer Michael Aboneka against UNRA for failure to install lights on the Kampala-Entebbe Expressway.

In his suit, Aboneka said that failure to install lights on the road has seen darkness descend on the road but also renders the road treacherous for motorists who are susceptible to accidents and other security threats like muggings.

Many other users of the road have also complained of the same which has partly been blamed for a number of accidents on the expressway.

The road

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.

Last year, UNRA hired French firm, Egis Roads Operation S. A  to carry out maintenance and manage road toll of the expressway.

According to the agreement, the French firm is supposed to provide road safety facilities, 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.

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