The roads Transport Development Agency will soon start building weighbridges at all border posts to check overloading.
Eric Ntagengerwa, the head of planning at the agency, said the project will begin in October with an independent survey. He said three weighbridges would be installed at Gatuna, Rusumu and Kagitumba border posts next year.
He said the move was also aimed at ensuring that transporters adhere to axle load limits to protect roads from being destroyed by overloaded cargo trucks.
The electronically-controlled bridges will reduce the cost of repairing roads, according to Ntagengerwa.
Weighbridges measure the gross weight and the axle load of cargo trucks.
Ntagengerwa added that the country has not been emphasising the use of weighbridges, which has led to the deterioration of many highways, resulting into sky-rocketing road maintenance costs.
“We used to have eight weighbridges, which are no longer working. But we want to revamp those at border posts to protect our roads from overloaded trucks,” Ntagengerwa said.
He assured transporters that the bridges would not affect their operations.
“We are aware that regional traders are concerned about weighbridges, but we will install them according to the East African Community standards,” he said.
Peterson Mutabazi, the principal transport engineer at the infrastructure ministry, said installing electronic weighbridges is part of the requirements of the EAC single customs territory initiative.
“Trucks will be issued customs seals at Mombasa and won’t be subjected to more inspections until they reach their destination.
“Establishing electronic weighbridges will make it easy for us to know whether trucks are overloaded or not without inspecting them manually,” he explained.
According to Theophile Dusabe, the Road Transport Development Agency head of maintenance division, it costs between $750,000 (about Rwf476m) and $1m (about Rwf634m) to construct one kilometre of a tarmac road.
Road maintenance fund collections increased from Rwf13b in 2008 to R14b in 2010, and then about Rwf16b in 2011 and Rwf18b in 2012. The figure is projected to be Rwf25b this year.
Setting up weighbridges could reduce the cost of road repairs by 50 per cent, according to experts.
Weighbridges have been largely supplemented by simple and thin electronic weigh cells over which a vehicle is slowly driven.
A computer records the output of the cell to come up with the total vehicle weight.