Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Engineers and Physical Infrastructure specialists have welcomed a move to widen Uganda’s road reserves from the current 15 to 40 meters. They say that wide reserves are important for the future development of Uganda’s road infrastructure.
The nod comes amid the discussion of a draft law seeking to expand road reserves, currently under scrutiny by the physical infrastructure committee of parliament. Specialists say that Uganda requires wider roads with multiple carriageways and effective utility systems to be able to meet the needs of a growing and vibrant population.
George Wilson Nsamba, a surveyor and vice chairperson of the Physical Infrastructure Committee says that the current road network undermines the development of road infrastructures across the country. He adds that the proposal for the expansion of reserves is long overdue.
Nsamba, however, says that the 40 meters should not be applied across all roads. He says that although national roads can be widened, the size for community access roads, district roads and city roads, can be reduced to cater for other interests within the areas.
Similarly, Engineer Ronald Namugera, the Manager Policy and Strategy at the Uganda Road Fund says that extending road reserves for a national road is very essential, but should not cut across all roads. He says this initiative increases issues of road maintenance and affects communities that live in areas adjacent to the road reserves.
Former Works and Transport Minister Eng. Abraham Byandala says that the proposed 40 meters is adequate for now, but could go up to 50 metres in the near future. He says that it is important to reserve roads now in order to reduce the cost of compensation when the need for further construction arises.
The Police Director of Traffic Steven Kasiima says the proposal of 40 meters should be applied to major highways in order to stop accidents. He, however, hastens to add that a lot of planning needs to be done in urban and local areas to ensure that roads are up to date with modern road designs.
Works Minister Monica Azuba Ntege says the 40 meters was settled for after consultation with several stakeholders and in consideration of the likely expenses that may arise out of compensation demands.
“For the future, and major projects we might need even more than 40 meters, but this came about looking at the land we have to buy in order to ensure these expansions,” Azuba said.