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Kigali expands, builds new roads to reduce traffic congestion

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The city authority is expected to spend more on infrastructure projects in the coming year as it steps up efforts to improve the capital’s competitiveness as an investment destination.

According to the city budget approved last week, approximately Rwf34 billion which is 87 per cent of the total budget will be spent on development projects mainly in infrastructure.

The city’s total budget for 2012/2013 is estimated at Rwf39.6 billion.

Key infrastructure projects particularly in transport will include expansion, rehabilitation and construction of roads around the city.

In particular, the city council is focusing on expanding key roads that are currently narrow and a source of traffic and congestion.

Though currently Kigali’s traffic congestion is yet to exceed the international limit of 20 minutes, during rush hour, there is traffic congestion around Chez-Lando Road and Rwandex-Sonatube with traffic waiting time exceeding 30 minutes because of narrow roads.

To reduce traffic jams during rush hour, specific city roads to be expanded include the main roundabout — Nyabugogo Road — 3.1km and Rwandex-Sonatube-Prince House Road, 4.1km.

The road project also includes expansion of ETO Muhima Road to Nyamirambo Road, 0.2km, and construction of the Chez Lando-KIE-Chez Lando Road, 4.6km and construction of 9.2km of city center roads.

The city also plans to develop alternative routes to reduce congestion in crowded roads.

“We want to build a city that is a destination of investment and for that to happen increasing access to basic infrastructure is needed to support productive system of the city and support private investment,” Kigali mayor, Fidele Ndayisaba, told Rwanda Today.

Due to the rapid increase in the urban population and private car ownership, traffic congestion has increased markedly in Kigali over the years, while the overall transport system has deteriorated.

Rwanda has one the highest rates of urbanisation in the region, currently at 18.7 per cent, with some 1.9 million of people living in urban areas.

The urban population is mostly found in Kigali city, home to approximately one million people.

Private car ownership has been increasing rapidly. Statistics from the Rwanda Revenue Authority show that between 2009 and 2010, a total 6,878 vehicles were imported.

“We are mainly concentrating on infrastructure because as a city it has to be brought to international standards. We are looking at the sign posting and the connecting roads to reduce traffic jams during rush hour – it is not easy but we are going to try,” said Alexander Semarinyota, the president of the Economic Commission of Kigali City Council.


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