One of the challenges of maintaining gravel roads in Mukono District is lack of axle-control yet the district given its terrain is one of the major sources of sand and other building materials for Kampala, a city that is expanding at a very high speed.
If heavy trucks are a nightmare for gravel and graded roads, which are easier to maintain, imagine the damage they can cause to paved roads that are far more expensive to look after.
With financing from the Uganda Road Fund (URF), the Uganda National Road Authority (UNRA) has been able to prolong the life of its roads across the country through enforcement of axle load control.
Any vehicle that carries 18 tons and above is required to go through a weighbridge to determine its weight and if it is found to be beyond its load limit, a fine is levied and ordered to carry only what is legally acceptable.
The Kampala-Malaba/Busia highway is Uganda’s major gateway to the port of Mombasa where the majority of goods imported into Uganda and its neighbouring countries pass through. With challenges in the railway sector, the majority of goods imported into Uganda come by road.
The URF funding for the Magamaga Weighbridge Station near Jinja sees at least 1,400 vehicles go through its gates each day. This ensures that only vehicles with acceptable loads use our roads to ensure that the lifespan of our roads is prolonged thereby reducing the money and other resources needed for road maintenance.
“We, however, don’t just limit ourselves to overloading, we ensure that what is loaded on these trucks even when it is within the allowable load is not dangerous to other road users,” explains Eng Kiwalabye, the Magamaga Station Manager.
It takes on average 40 minutes during heavy traffic hours for a truck to go through the weighbridge even though the actual weighing takes only a few minutes. To solve this problem, URF has provided financing for the construction of a second weighbridge at Magamaga to ease congestion.
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