The Government has set aside at least Rwf200 billion for the reconstruction of the road linking Kagitumba border post to Kayonza District, and the stretch from Kayonza to Rusumo on the Tanzania border.
This was disclosed by the State Minister for Transport, Dr Alexis Nzahabwanimana while presiding over the launch of the Police Month in Eastern Province yesterday.
Nzahabwanimana said the construction of the 136km and 120km roads respectively, would start in November.
“We completed the feasibility study that included, among others, expropriation costs and other expenses…it will be a modern, wide road. We earmarked between Rwf180 billion and Rwf200 billion…but because the topography is good, we may remain with some money that would be used for other things like installing traffic signs,” he said.
The Kagitumba-Kayonza highway was constructed in 1986, while Kayonza-Rusumo road was built in place in 1976.
Addressing hundreds of residents who had turned up for the launch of the Police Month, Nzahabwanimana affirmed government’s commitment to tame bad road users and to check accidents.
He warned motorists and owners of transport and cargo vehicles that heavy punishments await them if they fail to comply with the new traffic rules.
“The construction of the road is one way to check accidents…the poor state of the current road is sometimes responsible for the accidents,” he said.
Nzahabwanimana called on the Police to enforce a directive requiring public transport vehicles to install speed governors, noting that failure to adhere to the directives would lead to prosecution.
“February 2016 is the deadline; all passenger and cargo vehicle owners must install ‘Speed Governors’. This is a law that all will have to observe…it is a simple machine you install to limit speed. The speed limit will be 60 km per hour. We have started to upgrade Police’s capacity to manage road accidents,” he said.
At least 200 people died and over 300 were seriously injured in road accidents between January and June this year, according to Police statistics.
The minister said pedestrians were the most affected by the accidents.
“We need sidewalks, including on roads in up-country towns, so that pedestrians are safe. It is disheartening that most victims were not in any way related to the cause of the accidents,” he said.
The Governor of Eastern Province, Odette Uwamariya, reiterated the need to upgrade old roads, noting that they were the cause of many accidents on the highways.
“The roads to Kagitumba and Rusumo are in bad shape…its good news that they will be repaired. Between June and August, we had 94 accidents, 46 people died and 64 were seriously injured. The renovation works, coupled with the speed limits will make a difference,” she said.
Globally, at least 1.3 million people die in road accidents every year.