Uganda National Roads Authority-UNRA is investigating the collapse of Kabale-Ntungamo-Katuna road at Kyonyo, three kilometers to Katuna border. The road developed huge cracks on Friday last week following a heavy down pour before it collapsed leaving hundreds of motorists stranded.
Currently all heavy trucks heading to and from Rwanda are using Ntungamo-Mirama Hills-Kagitumba road as UNRA struggles to fix the damaged road. Reuben Byaruhanga Tumwebaze, the Director Roads Infrastructure Protection under UNRA, says although the damage could have been caused by caused landslides, they are highly suspicious that Reynolds Construction Company (RCC) and SBI International Holdings, which built the road, did a shoddy job.
Tumwebaze says that the company only used soil instead of hard core stones and Asphalt Pavement Reinforcement in many areas prone to landslides to drain water, which compromised the quality of work. Tumwebaze also says that the road has already shown signs of collapsing in Kamuganguzi, Kitumba, Kabale town, Kabaraga, Bukinda and Rubaare.
Richard Byarugaba, a resident of Kyonyo in Kamuganguzi Sub county, says the first road that was built during President Idi Amin’s regime was stronger compared to the new road.
According to Byarugaba, the contractor who worked on the first road installed hardcore stones and Asphalt Pavement Reinforcement to protect it from collapsing and drain water since it is near the swamp.
Byarugaba says as locals they were surprised when they saw RCC and SBI workers only compacting soil before adding Asphalt.
RCC and SBI International Holdings couldn’t be reached for comment by the time of publishing this story. In December 2010, the European Union extended to Uganda a grant of Shillings 325 billion to improve the 125 kilometer Mbarara-Ntungamo-Kabale-Katuna high way.
The road was divided into two sections. Mbarara-Ntungamo Section was budgeted at Shillings 154 billion while Ntungamo-Kabale-Katuna Section was budgeted at Shillings 198.26 billion. Government contracted Reynolds Construction Company (RCC) and SBI International Holdings to undertake the road works, which commenced in 2015.
However, the road started developing cracks barely a few months after its construction. The contractor fixed some of the cracks but left others.