KIGALI - In a bid to save government billions of francs in compensating of people who put structures in gazetted road reserves, the Minister of Infrastructure, Eng. Linda Bihire has stressed that the imminent road act will clarify critical issues.
In the draft law, the road reserve which is the surface of the ground occupied by the carriageway and all other essentials for its proper functions, are underlined.
This and others are expected to change the status quo as people have encroached on road reserves, especially leaving no room for expansion and the resultant costly expropriation route forced on government.
“We are faced with a crisis, at times we have to cut the road, to actually destroy the road because there isn’t enough space to put utilities like water pipes and electric lines, poles or even fiber optics,” Bihire noted.
The bill notes classifications of the national road network plus issues like ownership, management, maintenance, development and financing of roads.
Major roads, class one and minor ones, class two, are explained and the law stipulates on what facilities should be found within road zones.
Road reserves are “delimited by two parallel lines” at 22 meters on each side of the road’s centre line and not less than 12 meters for class one and class two roads respectively.
“The Mayors who give construction permits should also know these things,” the minister said.
Furthermore, the minimum viable width of a single lane one way carriage, not including sidewalks, drains and embankments is put at 5.5 meters and 3.5 meters for class one roads and class two roads respectively.
Roads that don’t have this predetermined width by the time this act comes into force will be progressively corrected where circumstances so allow.
The bill also indicates offences and penalties for violations to the conservation of public reserves.
Zero kilometer point
For the purposes of establishing the length of the national roads, the zero kilometer point, is fixed in Kigali City at the central roundabout and identified with specific latitude and altitude coordinates.
Bihire says this will solve problems, especially as contractors would come up with differing figures on road lengths.
“We had a problem with distance as one file would say 100 kilometers and another say 120 kilometers and so on and so forth. The zero kilometer point is to establish the actual length of a road – make it uniform because we will now know as there is a clear starting point.”