City Creators

A COWI blog about Urban Development

Road planning, construction and supervision: Upgrading a 21 km bypass in Uganda

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Uganda Road, blog

The current 21 km long bypass road is forming a semicircle across the Northern suburbs of Kampala. The construction was finished in 2009, but already at this stage it was found necessary to upgrade the road to improve the capacity.

The purpose of the bypass is to improve the East-West traffic flow and ease traffic congestion in the city centre. The rationale behind the original design was to limit the number of interchanges to the bypass due to capacity and safety considerations.

COWI’s department for Urban Planning and Transport will assist in the design, planning and monitoring phases. Altogether, COWI’s revenue on the project is expected to be approx. DKK 26 million (USD 4,6 million).

COWI’s services

COWI’s services include design review and construction supervision over the full three years construction period and one year defect liability period. COWI’s full time staff on the project will amount to four senior professional staff and 16 support staff. Major input by COWI’s headquarter staff is also anticipated for specialist input and general project back-up/administration. COWI turn-over on the project is expected to be approx. DKK 26 million.

An important input for the design review is the evaluation of the capacity of the grades separated intersections (fly-overs with roundabouts), using the state of the art traffic simulation software VISSIM, which can handle various types of traffic flows and different vehicle fleet compositions as well as the performance of traffic light regulations.


The existing intersections are all roundabouts with exception of Bombo which is a grade separated interchange. The grade separation included in the new design improves the capacity of the intersection by providing uninterrupted traffic flow (fly-overs).

The purpose of the works is to improve capacity by upgrading 17.5 km to dual carriageway standard. This capacity improvement will relieve congestion, reduce travel time and vehicle operating costs as well as protecting Kampala’s city roads from heavy commercial through traffic.

The upgrading works can be summarised as:

  • Construction of dual carriageway over 17.5 km, so that the complete 21 km bypass will be of four lane dual carriageway capacity;
  • Construction of three new footbridges;
  • Widening of at grade junction at Sentema; and
  • Construction of five new grade separated interchanges at Hoima, Gayaza, Bukota-Kyebando, Ntinda Road and Naalya.

Bridge structures are the major components of the grade-separated interchanges, which will provide overpass at Hoima, Gayaza, Bukota-Kyebando and Naalya roundabouts and an underpass at Ntinda interchange.

The road pavement is designed for up to 104 mill Equivalent Standard Axles and consists of 300 mm stabilised subbase, 170 mm to 180 mm dense bituminous macadam base course and 50 mm asphalt wearing course.

Further to the bypass works, service roads shall be constructed and utilities relocated as required.

The Construction works has been awarded to the Portuguese contractor Mota-Engil Africa and the Client is the Ministry of Finance represented by Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA). The project is partly (58%) funded by the EU.

Do you want to know more?

Azhar Saeed, chief market manager, COWI, Urban Planning and Transport
+45 5640 6448

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