The Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) has assuredResidents of Rukungiri, Kihihi, Ishasha, and Kanungu in the South-Western region of Uganda have reason to jubilate as the upgrading of the Rukungiri-Kihihi-Ishasha/Kanungu road is set to be completed by August 2023.

The 78.5km road, which is being upgraded from gravel to bitumen, is a significant route connecting Western Uganda with the Democratic Republic of Congo via the Ishasha Bridge, which is the border crossing point.

The road consists of two parts: the main part (Section I) runs East to West, starting in Rukungiri and ending at Ishasha (52.2km), while the other link road (Section II) runs from south to north, beginning at Kanungu and connects with Section I north of Kihihi (26.3km).

Speaking at the road project inspection last month, UNRA’s Executive Director Allen Kagina said it is expected to boost the residents’ standard of living and promote regional integration and cross-border trade with the Democratic Republic of Congo.

‘‘When the government of Uganda implements such projects, the goal is to contribute to the growth and development of the area and improve the lives of citizens. The Rukungiri-Kihihi-Ishasha/Kanungu road upgrade project will greatly benefit the people of southwestern Uganda. Its completion is expected to significantly impact the region by opening it up, boosting trade, and supporting the tourism industry.’’ She added.

Despite the challenges posed by persistent heavy rains since September 2022, the project has made considerable progress, with physical progress at 80.69%.

Commenting on the Progress of the Project, the RDC Kanungu, Mwesigye, commended UNRA for the work done on the project.

‘’We acknowledge that every project has issues, but this project has had minimal problems, and the UNRA team has been cooperative and responded promptly each time an issue was raised.’’Mwesigye added.

Out of the 4,197 Project Affected Persons (PAPS), a total of 3,785 have been compensated. The remaining PAPs have allowed the works to continue as UNRA awaits funds from the Ministry of Finance to pay them. This has boosted progress and mitigated delays that could have led to claims from the contractor.

Mindful of the risks arising from new projects partly due to the migration of workers into these project communities, the project team is working with Local Governments and communities to promote awareness of the risks of HIV/AIDS. Additionally, the team is carrying out awareness on Gender and Equity, Child Protection.

The Democratic Republic of Congo has given its no-objection to constructing the Ishasha Bridge, a crucial project component. Geotechnical investigations have been completed, and the foundation design update is ongoing.