It’s now close to two months since the African Union summit was held. Organisers of this meeting, which brought together over 30 African leaders, claim it was a great success. I beg to differ.
One of the reasons why the road from Kampala city centre to the airport in Entebbe is becoming outdated is the huge volume of traffic it handles. The traffic on this road has more than doubled over the last five years, not just because of the traffic it handles, but also because of the settlements concentrated along the highway.
Areas like Seguku, Lubowa, Kajjansi and Bwebajja have seen rapid increase in population due to the forces of urban sprawl. During the AU summit, this already narrow road had to be cordoned off for the dignitaries thus inconveniencing other road users.
Also, there is little or no consideration for pedestrians. Can one, for instance, clearly identify visible zebra crossings along this road? On average, there are two accidents weekly on this road involving pedestrians largely because there is no right of way for them.
On weekends, this road becomes a race track with people rushing to catch flights or revellers cruising to various recreation centres in Entebbe. They take advantage of the lack of a clear speed limit and literally fly.
Kibuye roundabout is another problem on Entebbe Road. This roundabout, a revolving point for several roads such as the roads to Makindye, Ndeeba, Katwe and Entebbe, is clearly outdated. The traffic volume has tripled, constantly causing massive traffic jams.
For a crucial road that must be secure and safe at all times, Entebbe Road leaves a lot to be desired, especially at night when the road is in total darkness.
The road surface, much as it’s tarmacked, does not offer a smooth ride. You can’t compare the levelling of, say, the Northern Bypass to Entebbe Road. With several dignitaries using this road, what impression of our country are we sending out there?
There was a time when a proposal was fronted for another road to Entebbe. This plan must be implemented to cut down on the congestion and inconvenience on Entebbe Road. Replace Kibuye roundabout with traffic lights, just like it was done on the former Jinja Road roundabout; this will tremendously cut down the time wasted going through this particular point.
It is also important to install street lights on this road. Speed limits should also be strictly enforced. At one time, speed guns were introduced but like any other police initiative, they faded out and so are the highway police patrol units who seem to operate for only a given period of time.
Consideration for pedestrians is equally paramount. People cross this road from every point, making accidents inevitable. The encroachment on the road reserves also needs to be addressed.
As we wait for the proposed new Entebbe Road to be constructed, it’s important to upgrade the present one to a decent standard.
Mr Nkurunziza is an urban planner