BY GLORIA NAKIYIMBA
The World Bank has today launched a road inspection report of the North Eastern Road Corridor which calls for improvement of safety measures to make the road safer for all users. Some of the safety measures proposed in the report include, changing the design of the road to make it more consistent to the terrain.
Other measures are , improving the cross section from two-lanes to four-lanes with guardrails in the towns of Tororo, Mbale, Soroti and Lira and at the Manafwa steep descend, use of speed guns, installation of speed humps, and delineation of horizontal curves to enhance safety for night-time driving with chevron signs.
The 340km stretch, known as the North Eastern Road Corridor Asset Management Project covers the Tororo-Mbale-Soroti-Lira-Kamdini road, and is about to undergo rehabilitation and improvements funded by the World Bank “Uganda has made important strides in the past decade to reduce communicable diseases, maternal deaths, and improve the overall life expectancy. Therefore, a concerted action on road safety would bring additional far-reaching benefits for the public health sector, and economic development,” said Tony Thompson, Country Manager, World Bank.
The report, funded by the Bank’s Global Road Safety Facility, identified several challenges including rapid urbanization along the corridor, poor road design that is inconsistent with the geographical terrain, ineffective and limited speed control measures as well as steep embankments and slopes.
According to the report a total of 98 accident black spots were identified in the corridor – equivalent to one black spot every 3.5km.
Speaking at the launch of the report in Kampala on Thursday, Allen Kagina the executive director Uganda National Roads Authority-UNRA noted that “the unit will be coordinating and liaising with all key stakeholders, including the police, the contractor, and the National Road Safety Council. The Unit will follow up on the NERAMP road safety performance and compliance to requirements of the national road safety standards and programs.”
UNRA says road Safety activities are aimed at the reduction of road traffic injuries and fatalities by strengthening the road safety management capacity, and reducing road crashes on the project corridor.
UNRA boss Kagina says the authority’s Traffic and Road safety department will play the leading role in the implementation of the safety interventions of the project, particularly the education and support to enforcement aspects.
The unit will follow up on the NERAMP road safety performance and compliance to requirements of the national road safety standards and programs.
Road safety education campaigns will be carried out in schools and on radio and TV stations in major towns along the road corridor including Tororo, Mbale, Soroti and Lira while support will be given to the road safety enforcement agencies like police in enforcing safety measures.