Members of Parliament have expressed concerns over rampant vandalism of road furniture on the Kampala-Entebbe Expressway, saying it is one of the biggest contributors to road accidents.
This was during a meeting with officials from UNRA led by Minister of Works and Transport Gen Katumba Wamala on the operations and maintenance of the Kampala-Entebbe Expressway held on Tuesday, 14 February 2023 before the Committee on Physical Infrastructure.
The MPs tasked the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) to come up with strategic and punitive measures to address the challenge of vandalism on the expressway which among others includes resorting to alternative construction materials that are not attractive to vandals.
“Oftentimes, road signs along the expressway have been vandalised and that is why we are having several road accidents. UNRA needs to take up tough measures including having open court hearings on vandals,” Hon Ronald Balimwezo (NUP, Nakawa Division East) said.
“We also need to resort to using alternative materials other than steel and aluminum which is expensive and attracts vandals. We can resort to materials such as concrete,” he proposed.
Bukoto central Legislator Eng. Hon. Richard Sebamala said that the public should know its poverty against life. He attributed increased vandalism of the chain-link fence to the rampant market for metal scrap that is being used as raw material for steel products.
“You never know whether its your relative to get affected when Ugandans vandalize the road equipment along the highway” Eng. Sebamala (DP, Bukoto central Masaka District) said.
According to Eng. Joseph Otim, the UNRA Director, Road Maintenance, the fencing along the expressway has been the most vandalised road furniture. Out of 44,386m of fence on Kampala-Entebbe Expressway, 30,588m has been vandalised.
“The entire section for the fencing measures up to 44,386m of which a total of 30,588.68m has been vandalised. The existing length of available fencing is 13,797.32m, indicating that 68.9 percent has been vandalised,” Eng Otim said.
The legislators also attributed road accidents on the expressway to poor lighting.
“The issue of lighting along Kampala-Entebbe expressway has not been taken seriously by UNRA. In fact, road accidents are a result of poor lighting. Therefore, we need commitment from the ministry of works on installation of lights because the impact is so big,” Hon Roland Ndyomugyenyi (INDEP, Rukiga County) said.
Deputy Committee Chairperson, Hon Robert Kasolo, added that security along the expressway is a “nightmare” resulting in rampant vandalism of road furniture, cars, and other criminal activities.
Minister Gen Katumba Wamala called for mass sensitization and behavioral change on the usefulness of road furniture. He also attributed delays in installation of lights to delayed pre-shipment inspection of lighting materials from the country of origin as a result of COVID-19. He said they will collaborate with Uganda police to Patrol the road and install more cameras.
He said that all the lighting materials have now been delivered and installation is ongoing with works expected to be completed by the end of March 2023.
Vandalism of road furniture on the Kampala-Entebbe Expressway remains one of the biggest challenges on the country’s only toll road.
About Entebbe Express Highway
The Kampala Entebbe Expressway was constructed with the overall strategy of decongesting the Greater Kampala Metropolitan area. It is the first toll road in Uganda and it provides an alternative to the free existing surface road, known as the Kampala–Entebbe Road, or simply Entebbe Road which is narrow, congested, and not sufficient to handle the heavy traffic traversing it. The expressway is gated and vehicles that access it have to pay a toll charge
The expressway was estimated to cost US$476 million (UGX:1.19 trillion). Of this, US$350 million (UGX:875 billion) is a loan from the Exim Bank of China at 2 percent annual interest. The remaining US$126 million (UGX:315 billion) was provided by the GOU.