The Rwandan government has announced plans to expand the Kigali-Muhanga road into a sprawling four-lane highway under $120 million of funding from the Export-Import Bank of Korea (commonly known as the Korea Eximbank).
This ambitious project is set to commence after the Rwandan lower chamber of parliament passed a law ratifying a $120 million (Rwf150 billion) loan agreement on November 13.
It comes after the loan deal between Rwanda and the Korea Eximbank was signed on September 13, 2023, in Busan, South Korea.
The Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Uzziel Ndagijimana, stated that the loan, to be repaid within 25 years with a 15-year grace period, at a 0.01% interest rate, aligns with supporting the development of Rwanda’s infrastructure sector.
The Kigali-Muhanga road serves as a vital artery, connecting Rwanda’s capital city, Kigali, to the bustling town of Muhanga. With the surge in population and economic growth, it has become evident that the current road capacity can no longer cope with the increasing traffic demands.
Recognizing this challenge, the government has taken decisive action to ensure smoother and more efficient travel for its citizens.
From Kigali to Muhanga, the road will be a four-lane highway to decongest this road, which connects two cities.
The Kigali-Muhanga road project has two main components, with the first consisting of the rehabilitation of the road at 45 kilometres and the expansion of 12.2 kilometres of the road to four lanes. Currently, the entire road has two lanes, Ndagijimana told lawmakers.
In addition, the project will include the construction of 11.9 kilometres of additional lanes for heavy trucks in areas where the road has ascents (climbs) so that they do not impede the movement of other vehicles. At such points, Ndagijimana explained that a part of the road with two lanes will get a third one, and a part with four lanes will have a fifth one for trucks, albeit at short distances.
Again, two bridges will be constructed, while water channels and public lighting along the road will also be part of the project.
The second component will feature consultancy services, including a detailed feasibility study, preparing bidding and contract documents, as well as supervisory services.
Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Uzziel Ndagijimana addresses members of parliament on Monday, November 13. Courtesy
Ndagijimana stated the section to be expanded to four lanes is the area near the city with heavy traffic. This is the case for the part from Nyabugogo bus park to Ruyenzi, and Bishenyi (in Kamonyi District) because it is considered an urban area where there are many activities and cars.
“That will be four lines for us to address traffic congestion,” he said.
From Bishenyi, he said, the road will reduce to two lanes, but it will again increase to four lanes before entering Muhanga city—from an area called Kivumu, Cyeza sector—then traverse the city centre to Kabgayi, and to Rugeramigozi wetland in Nyamabuye sector, in order to ease vehicle movement in the urban area.
MP Diogene Bitunguramye said the road in question was old and narrow, suggesting that the project was needed to improve the transport infrastructure.
For him, the road expansion implies many buildings will be expropriated, particularly at the part to be made four lanes, and wanted to know the source of funding for expropriation compensations to avoid project execution delays.
Minister Ndagijimana said that expropriation costs will be covered under the national budget, not the loan mentioned above.
The movement of vehicles on the Kigali-Muhanga road, which is set to be expanded to four lanes to decongest traffic, remains a big challenge for road users. Photo by Sam Ngendahimana
Muhanga is one of the three satellite cities in Rwanda, the others being Bugesera and Rwamagana, which are intended to support the larger Kigali in terms of housing and offering employment opportunities to the population, among other services.
Some trucks at Nkoto segment. Part of Kigali-Muhanga road to be expanded to four lanes.