By Simon Abaho
Motorists will starting January, 1,2022 be paying road toll for using the Entebbe Expressway, the Minister of Works and Transport, Gen. Edward Katumba Wamala has said.
“All motorists who will use the expressway from the commencement date for tolling will be required to pay toll to use the expressway. UNRA will, in turn, use the tolls collected to pay back the operator for operations and maintenance of the road and to repay the loan from China Exim Bank for construction of the road,” Gen Katumba Wamala said.
“Motorcycles with more than 400cc and not boda bodas will pay shs3000, light vehicles shs5000, medium goods vehicles(2-3axles) shs10,000, large goods vehicles and buses(4-5 axles) shs15000 whereas large goods vehicles will pay shs18000.”
The minister made the revelation on Tuesday during the launch of engagements on commencing of tolling operations on the Kampala-Entebbe Expressway.
According to Gen Katumba, the above fees will be for one way use.
“The toll fees shall be paid by use of either cash or electronic card as shall be communicated prior to commencement of tolling. The above toll fees shall be valid for a period of one year from the commencement date for tolling, and government through the Ministry of Works and Transport shall review and adjust the rates if necessary, based on the prevailing circumstances.”
He noted that the toll structure will also provide for discounts for frequent users of the expressway as an incentive for those who stay in Entebbe and work in Kampala or those making frequent trips between the two destnations.
According to the minister, weekly users will be given a 50% discount for seen day return trips purchased in advance whereas monthly users will have up to 70% in discount for 30 days return trips paid for in advance.
“Electronic card users will have 10% discount per trip,” he said.
He said from now until January when the tolling commences, UNRA will sensitize motorists on how to use the tolling system but also to test it.
The UNRA Executive Director, Allen Kagina said the funds collected from using the road will be used to fund its operation and maintenance.
“This will enable the expressway to be maintained to high class standard and not compete for the inadequate maintenance resources with the other non-tolled roads,”Kagina said.
Recently, UNRA contracted Egis Roads Operation S. A, a French company to help operate and maintain the Entebbe Expressway.
Kagina said the company will collect the toll and install systems.
“The contractor will carry out full-length lighting of the Expressway including payment of all electricity bills for the entire contract duration, carry out security patrol of the expressway 24/7to ensure all motorists are safe with no incidents of robbery,” she said.
According to Kagina, the French company will also install maintain new and improved road safety signs, and guardrails and replace damaged fencing.
“I wish to assure the public that UNRA remains committed to delivering road infrastructure conforming to international standards. We have put in place a mechanism to properly manage the toll revenues including ensuring that UNRA independently records each vehicle that passes the toll plaza to ensure that we collect 100% of the expected revenue.”
The Kampala-Entebbe Expressway that connects the Northern Bypass at Busega to Entebbe International Airport is Uganda’s first-ever toll road.
The $476m(shs1.8 trillion) road has two lanes in each direction and comprises two road sections – a 36.94km-long section and a 12.68km-long link road.
The toll road has four interchanges at Busega, Kajjansi, Mpala and Lwaza but also features 19 overbridges and 18 underpasses to provide access to the area around the road.
A total of three main toll plazas are built on the expressway at Busega, Mpala and Kajjansi with the Busega toll plaza featuring six toll gates, while the Mpala and Kajjansi have five gates each.
The expressway also boasts of the 1.5km –long suspension bridge over the Nambigirwa swamp which is the longest bridge in East Africa.
The road constructed by China Communication Construction Company is expected to ease traffic jam from Uganda’s capital , Kampala to Entebbe as well as reducing the travel time for motorists to the airport from 120 minutes in the past using the narrow old Entebbe road to only 30 minutes.