ALTERNATIVE TRANSPORT: The Ministry of Works and Transport (MoWT) has set up an alternative route to Masaka City via Lake Victoria.
Starting at 1pm Monday, MV Kalangala and MV NODL-Victoria will be transporting travellers from Nakiwogo in Entebbe to Bukakata in Masaka and vice versa.
This follows the closure of the Kampala-Masaka Highway after floods washed away a section of the Katonga Bridge, forcing travellers to divert at Mpigi via Sembabule to Masaka, which is a longer route.
According to the Ministry of Works and Transport, MV Kalangala will be vying from Nakiwogo via Kalangala to Masaka, while MV NODL-Victoria will be going directly to Bukakata in Masaka. MV NODL-Victoria transports only passengers and MV Kalangala transports both passengers and cargo. They will be making only one trip a day.
Mr Sadala Musoke, the chief executive officer of Nation Oil Distributors Limited, a firm managing both vessels, said the alternative route was set up after consultations with stakeholders.
“Water transport is the safest and cheapest means of transport but many of our people don’t acknowledge that. This is an opportunity for Ugandans going to Masaka must utilise to minimise the time spent on the road since this will take them only three hours depending on the environment on the lake,” Mr Musoke said, adding that they will be charging only Shs15,000.
The manager of the MV NODL-Victoria, Ms Idah Musoke, said the maiden route has been subsidised by the government to facilitate people, who wish to use water transport to Masaka via Bukakata.
“We will be leaving Nakiwogo at 1pm and we will be arriving at Bukakata Landing Site at 4.30pm. And then on Tuesday morning, the vessel will leave early at 8am and arrive in Nakiwogo at 12.30pm. We will be doing the same for the entire week unless something comes up,” she said.
Mr Mustapha Mayamba, the vice chairperson of the Uganda Taxi Operators Federation(UTOF) welcomed the move, saying: “As taxi drivers, we shall still be in business. We will have to transport passengers to Nakiwogo as well as picking them to the city centre,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) on Sunday announced that the anticipated timeline for the completion of these EMERGENCY works at River Katonga is 2–3 weeks.
Through their official Twitter handle, UNRA said, “Emergency restoration works at Katonga along Kampala-Masaka Highway have kicked off! With favourable weather conditions, the anticipated timeline for the completion of these EMERGENCY works is 2–3 weeks. We request for your patience during this time.”
On Saturday, UNRA deployed heavy machinery and bridge construction materials at at River Katonga site to start on the reconstruction of the damaged section of the bridge. Some of the deployed machinery was a long-arm excavator to efficiently clear any leftover debris, perfectly level the hardcore foundation and set it for its next phase of works.
The UNRA Directorate of Roads and Bridges led by Eng. Samuel Muhoozi is the responsible for the implementation of the national roads and bridges development programs which include construction of new roads and bridges, upgrading of existing roads to higher standards, reconstruction or heavy rehabilitation of the paved roads and bridges that have served their lifetime.
Credit: Daily Monitor