The Luwero District Executive Committee has written a motion that says heavy trucks carrying sand and stones should not be allowed to use feeder roads.
Luwero district has a road network of over 1360 kilometers. At least 628 kilometers of these roads are kept up by the district, 163.51 kilometers by urban councils, and 567.3 kilometers by sub-counties.
But people are complaining that too many heavy trucks, which mostly carry sand and stones, have made some roads impossible to drive on.
Robert Kalenzi, the Luwero district engineer, says that the most affected roads are in Kalagala, Buntuntumula, Kamira, Kikyusa, and Zirobwe sub-counties, among others, which host sand mines. Kalenzi says that the heavy trucks carrying the materials have led to the collapse of culverts installed by the district.
“The roads that we rehabilitate don’t last long and become impassable after the trucks pass through them, yet we spend so much money on them,” Kalenzi said. At least 50 heavy trucks pick up sand or stones daily from the Luwero district for transportation to construction sites in Kampala city.
Erastus Kibirango, the LC 5 Chairman of Luwero district, says that as a result, the district executive has passed a resolution to introduce a motion in the council that bans heavy trucks from using the feeder roads to pick sand or stones from the mining sites.
He says that once approved, only light trucks like Elf and Forward will be allowed to transport sand or stones from the mining sites to the collection centers near the Kampala-Gulu highway, from where the material will be picked up by heavy trucks.
Kibirango says that heavy trucks that are found driving on feeder roads in the villages will be taken away if the motion is passed by the district council.
Currently, heavy trucks pay 10,000 shillings, whereas light vehicles pay between 360 and 5000 shillings per trip as a road toll. Edward Zziwa, the LC-5 councillor for Luwero sub-county, says this is little compared to the damage they cause per journey.
Zziwa says that in addition to putting limits on heavy trucks, they plan to change all of the fees that vehicles carrying building materials pay to make sure they get enough money for road maintenance.
John Bosco Makawa, who lives in the town of Kamira, says that unlike the highway, where the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) put in weighbridges to make sure trucks don’t go over the axle load, the feeder roads are in danger if trucks keep driving on them without limits.
But truck drivers have since warned that the move may result in an increase in the price of building materials. Ali Sebanja and Umar Matovu are drivers at Kasana Tipper Stage in Luwero Town Council. They say that the motion is fair, but that they will have to raise the prices of building materials to pay for the extra costs of renting light cars to move materials from the mines.
Matovu explains that one may need about 12 light vehicles to load a single heavy truck, which will be costly.
The motion is expected to come up for discussion in the district council meeting, which is expected in December this year. In the financial year 2021/22, Luwero district received 1.7 billion shillings for mechanized routine maintenance and wages for the roads department. The funds were used to carry out routine maintenance on only 110 of the 628 kilometers that are within the district.