Govt commissions Northern By-pass road project after 18-years of construction

Vice President Jessica Alupo commissioning Northern by-pass first phase (PHOTO/Courtesy).

Vice President Jessica Alupo has commissioned the second phase of the Kampala Northern By-pass Road.

The Kampala Northern Bypass Highway stretches from Bweyogerere to the east and to Busega in the north.

Along its path, the two-lane highway glides through several suburbs of Kampala city, including Kireka, Naalya, Kisaasi, Bukoto, Kawaala, Namungoona and Busega, a development that has enhanced their faster growth.

The construction of the 21km dual lane highway skirting Kampala’s central business district kicked off in 2004, and although the road was opened to road users in 2009, it has never been completed.

UNRA has faced a lot of criticism for the unending construction on the Bypass- considered a signature road project. Many Ugandans have repeatedly asked how a road designed for just 21 km can take upto 18 years of construction.

First conceived in 1993, the Kampala Northern Bypass was planned as a two-phase project whose first phase – which was financed by the European Union – was completed in October 2009 but rejected by the funders over poor quality.

Ugandan government undertook to construct the first phase of the Kampala Northern Bypass project between 2004 and 2009 with a grant from the EU of EUR 52.2 million.

The second phase of the Kampala Northern By-pass Road project commenced in July 2014 and was financed through a EUR 40 million grant from the EU and a EUR 7.2 million concessional loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB) along with
Government of Uganda funding to the tune of EUR 124.7 million.

Rtd. Maj. Alupo hailed the EU for supporting Uganda’s road infrastructure development and said: “The Government of Uganda thanks the European Union for providing financial support towards the development of critical infrastructure aimed at accelerating the socio-economic transformation of Uganda and the East African region at large.”

The EU Ambassador, H.E Attilio Pacifici said: Can you take a moment to imagine what life would be like in the Kampala metropolitan area without the Kampala
Northern Bypass? This project is but one of many in the long and rich history of cooperation between the European Union and Uganda. Over the last 35 years, the EU has supported Uganda’s transport sector with grants amounting to approximately EUR 800 million (UGX 3 trillion going by today’s exchange rates).”

The UNRA Executive Director, Ms. Allen C. Kagina said: “The Capacity Improvement of the Kampala Northern Bypass Project has taken us long strides to complete and demanded considerable amount of money. However, each coin we spent on the road as well as the efforts have been worth it. We now have a bypass which will greatly contribute to smooth and safe traffic movement within and around Kampala. The road will not only facilitate traffic flow but also enhance the growth of the National Economy. We are not just building roads, we are building the future of our Country

Construction of the dual carriageway highway was done by Mota-Engil, Engenharia E Construcao SA, a subsidiary of the Mota-Engil civil engineering and construction conglomerate, based in Portugal.

Mr Mauro Ventura, Motal-Engil Uganda Managing Director said: “We are delighted to successfully deliver on our contract to build the second phase of the Kampala Northern Bypass. A challenging project but with a happy ending. Mota-Engil cannot be more grateful to all stakeholders for the support and work to achieve this great milestone; in a special way to the more than 1500 employees, 90% of whom are Ugandans for their handprint in this magnificent project. We are proud to contribute to Uganda’s development, economic growth and improved livelihood of its citizens.”

Eng. Tesfaye G. Taye, the COWI Deputy Resident Engineer said: “COWI is grateful to the Government of Uganda, the European Union and UNRA for getting
opportunity to be part of this grand project. It has participated in the design review and construction supervision works. Even though there were so many challenges through the project’s life, COWI has managed to carry out its responsibility with highest professional ethics thanks to its hardworking and disciplined Ugandan and expatriate staff. COWI congratulates and says well done to all stakeholders. Building good roads will undoubtedly create wealth to the country in the long-run apart from
creating jobs in the short-term.”

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