Rwanda embarks on roads upgrade
KIGALI, RWANDA- THE City of Kigali is considering adding urban expressways – designed for high speed traffic - to its expanding road network across the capital.
This is one of the new separate approaches technocrats say will help decongest the ever increasing motor traffic. A financing deal for the project is currently being discussed with partners, officials at City Hall say. Additional by-pass roads will also be added to particularly manage heavy truck traffic. Already, three have been planned and are under the city roads expansion project, launched last month. “We are separately looking at reintroducing road tolls (Péage), which used to exist in the 1960s as a way to dissuade a lot of traffic into the city centre, “Mr. Bruno Rangira, the Kigali spokesman said in an interview. The on-going expansion works will see a total of 54kms of city roads in various parts of the city turned into dual carriageways. A total of US$ 76million (about Rwf62.5billion) will be spent over a three-year period. The money, raised last year from a loan by China Exim (Export & Import) Bank, will be spent on the works as well as for expropriation (compensation) of owners whose property has been razed down to give way along the expanded road reserves. “The main aim of the project is to reduce traffic jams through construction of new bypass in expanding existing roads in the city, whose capacities are lower than the current level of traffic using them and to make different parts of the city more accessible,” Rangira explained. The road expansion project will cover Kigali’s three districts of Nyarugenge, Kicukiro and Gasabo, upgraded to dual carriage ways. Construction duration is expected to take some 32 months, by the China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC). Under the loan financing agreement with the Chinese government, signed late last year, Rwanda’s contribution is to finance the expropriation exercise, whose assessment is still going on in preparation for the subsequent construction phases. City authorities are under pressure to come up with lasting solutions to the growing menace of traffic jams. Expressways would bring relief to fast moving traffic, given current permitted speed limits at 40km/h. Despite of a number of newly constructed ring roads and feeder roads, traffic has continued to pose a rising challenge, if unchecked. There are over 40,000 vehicles in the country, with a majority concentrated in the capital. In addition, there are over 10,000 motorcycle taxis, commonly known as taxi motos or bike transporters. No up todate records were available, though. Close to 6,000 vehicles are imported every year, according to Police and records from the Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA).
President Paul Kagame checks the feel of flat boards made by Strawtec, a local investor at the Kigali Special Economic Zone (KSEZ). The company collects and turns raw straw grass and compacts it into high quality construction materials.