Business firms, led by Coca-Cola Beverages Africa in Uganda (Century and Rwenzori Bottling Companies), have applauded the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) on commencing the long-awaited maintenance works on the Kampala–Jinja highway.
Starting at the renowned Coca-Cola Namanve and Kigunga sections, the 72km road maintenance works will restore severely distressed parts of the trade critical road.
The full roads maintenance project stretches from the junction to Katalima road at the Nakawa ‘Spear’ crossroads, and continues eastwards through Bweyogerere, Seeta, Mukono, and Lugazi to end in Jinja.
Commenting on the commencement of the works, Coca-Cola Beverages Africa General Manager, Melkamu Abebe, said the soft drinks beverages company employees could finally stop being anxious over the state of the road.
“We thank UNRA and Government of Uganda for responding to our pleas. The state of the road presented very many risks to our employees and to the general public – the dust was a health and infection risk to the thousands of employees working in Namanve. Besides that, the traffic often created road accident risks,” he said.
In a message to UNRA Executive Director Allen Kagina, Abebe commended UNRA for restoring investor confidence and for easing business logistics.
“The road works will enable us, and other businesses, to go to market easier to serve the economy, which enables us to make our tax contributions. Those same tax contributions are what UNRA uses to keep our roads in good repair, hence giving us confidence that being compliant tax payers makes a difference to the communities in which we operate,” he added.
UNRA Executive Director, Allen Kagina, thanked the manufacturers for being patient with the procurement process for the maintenance work.
“Coca-Cola is one of the largest tax payers in the country, employing a large number of Ugandans and supporting many others through their business. It was important for us to enable their success and that of other manufacturers in the industrial park by providing world class road infrastructure. We can pledge that in UNRA the manufacturers have a dependable partner,” she said.
Kagina also conducted a night-time inspection of the road works and thanked the engineering team for scheduling the maintenance during off-peak hours in order not to disrupt traffic flows on the Kampala-Jinja Highway.
“I am pleased that the team put this into consideration and chose to work at night during curfew hours. This is further evidence that UNRA is sensitive to the needs and comfort of the public and our business community,” she added.
The Kampala Jinja highway is international road, of national strategic importance and part of the Northern Corridor Route used by transit traffic within the East African region namely Kenya, Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda.
The road maintenance works will include: Shoulder reworking at various sections, Reconstruction of the Kyambogo junction, Full width repair of rutting and severe crocodile cracking at various sections, Pothole repairs, Replacing damaged asphalt and Drainage Improvements which include the construction of; New Box culverts and concrete pipe cross culvert locations, Stone pitched drains, Concrete lining comprising of covered rectangular and open trapezoidal drains; and Buried pipe culverts in side drains.
Most of the project works will be done during the night (6pm to 6am), and according to UNRA, this is to limit the impact on traffic flow.
As the works progress, UNRA is alive to the intermittent traffic interruptions at specific construction sites. UNRA acknowledges the obvious inconvenience these interruptions cause and extends an apology to the public.
UNRA appeals to the public to continue observing the traffic management guidelines that have been put in place to enhance safety enable smooth flow of traffic and avoid accidents.