By Stephen Kalema
Uganda National Road’s Authority (UNRA) has blamed ‘land disputes’ for hindering the progress to complete the second phase of the Northern Bypass project.
Construction of the 17.5km road commenced on July 2014 and was originally expected to be completed in July 2017. However, this target failed and the even the extended target (November 2018) has not been met.
According to Allen Kagina, the Executive Director of UNRA, the physical progress is moving at a slow pace due lack of access to and possession of site.
“The project has suffered significant delays which has hindered contractor’s productivity,” said Kagina while touring the project on Thursday.
Kagina, said disputed compensation amounts by Project Affected Persons (PAPs), family disputes over ownership and absentee landlords have been great contributors to the delay of this project.
“Contractors have not delivered as expected, however, most of these challenges delaying the timely land acquisition arise from design improvements which increased the size of the road hence increasing the amount of money to compensate,” said Kagina.
However state minister of Works Gen Katumba Wamala has urged Contractors, Portuguese firm Mota-Engil, Engenharia E Construcao SA, to work around the obstacles to ease excessive delays.
Meanwhile UNRA’s Land Acquisition and Legal team are working together with the Courts of Law to solve the identified land ownership and compensation challenges by the end of 2018 as the works progress.
The second phase follows the completion of the first phase which was constructed from August 2004 and was expected to be completed in 2006 at a cost of Shs87 billion, however, the target was not met until 2009. This delay increased the cost of project to Shs100 billion which is likely to happen even to the second phase.
According to Allan Ssempebwa Kyobe, the media relations manager in the office of Allen Kagina, by the end of November 2018 the progress of the project was at around 51per cent and confirmed that the contractor is fully mobilized towards completion of works by close of 2021
This project is co-financed by the Government of Uganda, European Union grants and loans from the European Investment Bank.
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