By Al Mahdi Ssenkabirwa, Daily Monitor/NECJOGHA
Masaka, Uganda – Delay in the release of funds coupled with heavy rain may delay construction works for Nyendo-Bukakkata road, engineers have said.
Although government had in the last two decades promised to tarmac the 41-kilometre road, actual construction works commenced in June, six months after President Museveni did ground-breaking for the project.
Workers on the road that connects Masaka to Bukakkata and Kalangala Islands, have only accomplished 5 per cent after five months.
Mr Alfred Tugume, the project manager, said work cannot advance at the anticipated speed, but they are working to complete the project on time.
The work involves removal of existing top surface, clearing shoulders, cover with gravel, compacting and tarmacking.
The contractor is expected to complete work in 24 months.
“It is true we are behind schedule because the contractor did not get advance payment in time and we also have a problem of heavy rain which affects our work, but we are very optimistic that the project will be executed in record time and handed over to government,” he said during a stakeholders engagement meeting at Luvule project camp site last week.
The meeting attracted local and district leaders and officials from Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA).
Mr Tugume also blamed the slow progress on utility service providers such as Umeme and National Water and Sewerage Corporation, who delayed to relocate their service lines.
“But it is good that the utility providers have now relocated utilities such as electricity poles, telephone lines and water pipes,” he said
Mr Moses Kintu, a land valuer at UNRA, said some residents on the road are coming up with fresh claims yet they were already compensated.
“We have already acquired at least 95 per cent of the land needed, but some residents have dug fish ponds and are asking for compensation of Shs600m claiming that their activities are affected by the project yet the road design doesn’t cover the site where they are,” he said.
Masaka Resident District Commissioner Herman Ssentongo cautioned residents against making false compensation claims that may delay the project.
“I also ask road workers to avoid sexual harassment, we don’t want what was in Kamwenge to happen here. Lets guard against it,” he said.
A few years ago, World Bank suspended funding for construction of Fort Portal–Kamwenge road following allegations of sexual violence on children in the area.
Once completed, the Nyendo-Bukakkata road project will help to boost the fisheries, farming and tourism sectors which are major economic activities in the area.