Kigali City authorities are racing against time to complete construction and repairs of roads ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of State and Government Meeting (CHOGM) slated for next month.
However, the recent heavy rains and flooding have proven to be a challenge as some roads which were completed ahead of time have since been destroyed, forcing road construction companies to redo the work.
The government is spending over Rwf10 billion to upgrade the roads partly to provide alternative routes to ease traffic during the meeting. The first phase of building 17 kilometers has at least six road projects which have to be completed by end May.
This phase has some ongoing road projects including, Mpazi bridge in Nyabugogo, Kicukiro round-about project, Kacyiru in Kabagari roads near Minubumwe and other connecting roads in Nyarutarama.
Jean Berchmas Imanisingizwe, a motorcyclist in Nyabugogo, told Rwanda Today that the image of the city will be damaged if visitors found the roads incomplete.
“We are having a traffic jam in the city due to these closed roads. The city of Kigali should put more e ort into completing them before the guests arrive” he said.
However, Emmy Asaba Katabarwa, a city engineer sought to reassure the public that the roads will be completed on time saying sufficient machines and man power are going to be deployed to speed up the fulfilment of these roads and he reveals that construction works will be accomplished by the first week of June.
“The first phase of the activities is almost over and the rest will be accomplished well in three weeks to come...” he said, adding the supervisors are making regular visits to all sites to verify the standards and quality of the roads.
With up to 10,000 people expected to come to Kigali and spend a week, using multiple facilities across the city, the biggest challenge has been the government to prepare for the anticipated traffic congestion that is likely to paralyze movement in the city once the guests jet in.
To try to deal with the impending traffic hiccups, the government ventured into constructing new access routes, expanding others to not only decongest the city but to ease access especially around places where the concentration of CHOGM activities is expected to be heavy.
Roads like the Kimicanga-Kacyiru routes have already been dismantled and are being reconstructed and expanded to be able to accommodate more traffic, while new ones like the Kabeza-Kanombe access route have been built to decongest the main airport road.
The goodyear-Kabeza bypass, which is already complete, was meant to take pressure off the main Sonatube-Airport highway and give options to people who live in Kabeza, Kanombe, Busanza and beyond. Other roads being upgraded include one that passes below the Ministry of National Unity and Civic Engagement (MINUBUMWE) and Kigali Public Library is also being expanded.
The plan, according to the city of Kigali, is to not only ensure the guests are assured of seamless movement, but also minimize interruption of citizens as they go about their business during the period of the meeting.