Yesterday morning, a section of the Kampala-Jinja highway was flooded by rain water at Banda causing serious traffic hitches for road users, who were trying to beat both the downpour and traffic to either enter or leave the city.
Those riding in low suspension cars found it a nightmare. Many car and motorcycle engines ceased, prompting their owners to enlist the services of young men within the area to help push their vehicles through the flooded sections.
While some vehicles were able to restart, others had to be towed away. It might at this point in time not be possible to quantify the extent of the damage, but suffice it to say that it cost the motorists and indeed the rest of the nation a lot in terms of time and money.
The sight of floods is, however, not strange. They have become an annual ritual that motorists have to go through whenever the rains come. What seems strange is the perpetual failure of those in positions of authority to find a lasting solution to this problem and indeed other challenges that have dogged major accesses to the city and other roads within the city centre.
The NRM government committed itself in its 2011 – 2015 manifesto to ensuring that all gateways to the city, including this particular road, are “in excellent condition”. Thanks to that commitment, most of the accesses were resurfaced, but “excellent condition” is not simply about having an even surface. It is also about the enlargement to allow for movement of many more cars and fixing the drainage systems to ensure that floods such as we saw on Tuesday and yesterday do not occur.
And one need not try to reinvent the wheel here. In the National Transport Master Plan (NTMP) and Transport Master Plan for the Greater Kampala Metropolitan Area, which the Ministry of Works unveiled in August 2009, lies most of the solutions to the numerous transport challenges in Kampala City.
Some of the activities had been lined up included designing and construction of dual carriageways on main arteries, inner parts of the city centre and the Southern By-pass. It was envisaged that 122kms of the roads would be turned into dual carriageways.
The plan also provided for the improvement of at least 572.9kms of single carriageways by upgrading them to have at least two motor vehicle lanes, adequate shoulders and proper drainages. Let that Transport Master Plan not continue gathering dust on some ministry or KCCA office shelves.