The Times of Tanzania
Eastern Africa News Network, Breaking News Tanzania

East African Community to upgrade 15,000 kilometers of Regional Road Networks linking ten corridors

The East African Community is working to upgrade and improve ten cross-border corridors that form the Regional Road Network Project totaling 15,000 kilometers.

For starters, the feasibility studies for the 256 kilometers multinational highway to link strategic locations between Kenya and Uganda is in the works.

The Kisumu-Kisian to Busia and Kakira to Busitema-Busia via Malaba expressway study kicks off after the East African Community officially handed over the site to the consultancy firm GOPA Infra Gmbh of Germany.

GOPA is an independent international consultancy rendering engineering and consulting services for infrastructure development worldwide.

The firm will work together with the Infrastructure, Transportation and Environment Consulting Engineering Company (ITEC) Limited based in Nairobi, Kenya.

The expressway that will run from Kisumu in Kenya to Kakira, a town Jinja district, will involve rehabilitation of the existing two-lane single-carriageway to bitumen standards and the upgrading of the same into a two-lane dual carriageway over a 104 kilometers stretch.

The expressway is expected to improve the transport services to five land-linked EAC Partner States of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan and DR Congo.

The USD 1.5 million feasibility study project funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB) will determine the economic viability of upgrading the existing multinational road sections from single carriageway to expressway standards.

The studies will be carried out as one integrated project but in two distinct packages to determine the economic feasibility of developing the corridors that connect the two countries to the port of Mombasa.

The expressway is part of improvements on the Northern Corridor which provides landlocked East African nations with faster access to Mombasa Port.

It also forms part of the Mombasa-Kigali expressway that was prioritized at the EAC Heads of States Retreat on Infrastructure Development held in February 2018 in Kampala.

The rehabilitation along the EAC Northern Corridor is expected to contribute to strengthening road infrastructure within the EAC region to fast-track regional integration and spur cross-border trade.

Deputy Secretary General in charge of Productive, Social and Political Sectors, Aguer Ariik Malueth, disclosed the estimated overall duration of the feasibility study will be 18 months.

“It is our expectation that Partner States are also in the process of upgrading the other sections of the Northern Corridor from Mombasa through Nairobi up to Malaba and from Kampala westwards towards Katuna and Mpondwe so as to achieve a uniform high level of service along the entire corridor,” said Ariik.

He said that the scope of the assignment of the feasibility study will include the improvement of the Busia and Malaba One Stop Border Posts and the upgrading of Lwakhakha Border between Kenya and Uganda to an OSBP.

“The consultant is also expected to propose other measures including digitalization of weighbridges, establishment of roadside rest areas and intelligent transport system,” added Hon Ariik.

Engineer Godfrey Enzama, the Principal Civil Engineer at the EAC Secretariat said that the road project will not only be expected to improve the transport flow, but also will address the issue of poor road safety along the road.

Eng. Enzama added that the entire EAC region, and in particular some sections of the Northern Corridor, has very high incidences of fatal road crashes, brought about by a variety of reasons including driver behaviour, bad weather, poor road conditions and pedestrian-vehicle conflicts.

Luka Kameli, who represented the Principal Secretary at Kenya’s Ministry of EAC, ASALs and Regional Development, said that the rehabilitation of the Kisumu-Kisian-Busia and Kakira-Malaba-Busitema-Busia expressway will boost most economic sectors including imports, exports and mining as well as forestry industries.

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