Rwanda em­barks on roads up­grade

East African Business Week - - FRONT PAGE - BY TRIPHOMUS MUYAGU

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.

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