Roadside businesses suffer as Kabeza-Rubirizi road construction goes on

KIGALI - The ongoing construction of Kabeza-Rubirizi road, both Kigali suburbs, came at a time it was badly needed by the public, but also has short-term negative effects.
A past construction exercise on Kicukiro-Nyamata road, which is now tarmac. (File photo)
A past construction exercise on Kicukiro-Nyamata road, which is now tarmac. (File photo)

KIGALI - The ongoing construction of Kabeza-Rubirizi road, both Kigali suburbs, came at a time it was badly needed by the public, but also has short-term negative effects.

Already, the exercise, which has been going on for months, has forced some roadside businesses to close.

Gerald Mugabe, a medical assistant with Dispensary Iwacu, said this week: “A number of patients we receive these days are suffering from dust-related diseases which range from flu to cough”.

He added that the exercise has also subjected him to constantly clean his business premises, because of too much dust.  The construction works, which are carried out by a Chinese construction firm, DPT, has also affected a number of saloons in the area.
Agnes   Kantengwa, a saloon owner, complained: “I have lost many clients due to this road construction (process) which seems to be unending”.

This, she said, is due to the fact that “clients can’t afford to sit in a dust-filled room yet there are other saloons in Remera (a neigbouring suburb) that are dust-free”.

Restaurants and shops are other heavily affected businesses. “I have to clean and wipe (my business premises) almost every hour,” Gilbert Kalisa, a restaurant operator a long the road, complained. “Even water has become a problem because water pipes were tampered with by the constructors.”

Residents in the area say the constructors have had to cut water pipes, resulting into increment of water prices. Currently, a jerry can of water in the surrounding areas goes for Frw100 up from Frw50 before the construction exercise started.

A supermarket operator, Jimmy Nshimiye, also said that he has increasingly lost his clients because his “commodities have turned in colour” as a result of too much dust.
When The New Times talked to one of the constructers, who identified himself as Hakizimana, he sounded optimistic saying the tarmac could be laid soon.

“The construction is going on as planned; we have however continuously tried to pour some water (on the road) to reduce the dust,” he explained.

And Chu Lee, a construction supervisor added: “we are still preparing ourselves for the hard task ahead (laying the tarmac), but all the necessities have to be obtained first”.

He appealed to members of the public residing or working in the vicinity of the road to be patient, highlighting the fact that good things like roads don’t come cheaply.

Kabeza-Rubirizi road is among the city roads lined up for construction, while many others are being repaired. The construction of the road comes just after works to renovate the Giporoso-Kabeza stretch reach at advanced stages.
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