The road toll on the Chinese-funded and built 55-kilometre Entebbe Expressway in Uganda will start operating in January 2020 as the government seeks to raise money to finance public infrastructure projects.
The expressway links the capital Kampala with the Entebbe International Airport.
Speaking to The EastAfrican in her office in Kampala this past week, Uganda National Roads Authority executive director Allen Kagina said; “We have a commitment to pay back the loan whether the tolls are enough or not.”
Free for use since it was opened to traffic in June last year, Ms Kagina said projections show an increase in traffic on the expressway concurrently increasing numbers of passengers using the Entebbe International airport, and that those surveyed are willing to pay a toll fee.
A new law allowing the charging of road tolls came into effect in August after President Yoweri Museveni assented to the Road Act.
The government is seeking to collect money to repay a $476 million loan from the China Exim bank, payable over a period of 40 years at two per cent interest per annum.
Across the border, Kenya has earmarked Thika Superhighway, the Southern Bypass, the Nairobi-Mombasa highway, the JKIA-Westlands expressway and the yet to be built second Nyali Bridge for tolling.
Tanzania plans to charge a toll on the Chalinze-Morogoro road which forms part of the 921-km Tanzania–Zambia highway.
When the road opened to traffic in June last year, the then existing laws didn’t provide for collection of tolls and therefore motorists have been using it for free and traffic flow is not too much.
The Ministry of Works now says that the process of crafting costs to be paid by particular vehicle types is ongoing and will be revealed to the public by the line minister before the end of this year.
This road provides a quicker get away from the Kampala to the country’s only International Airport, Entebbe, is widely believed to be the world’s most expensive road of its length.
Built using environmentally friendly technology with bridges suspended over swamps like Nambigirwa, which runs for almost a kilometre, the new road starts at Busega and terminates at Mpala in Entebbe with a spar at Kajansi to Munyonyo.