With the 82-kilometer road linking the two border towns of Malaba and Busia in a state of deterioration, drivers had to take an alternate route through Nambale Mayoni junction to Bungoma: a journey that should have taken less than one hour instead took closer to two and a half. The road was in such poor shape, businesses were nearly inaccessible, and farmers had to travel miles out of their way to deliver produce.
The Uganda National Road Authority entered into a joint venture with SBI Holdings International AG (Uganda) to improve and rehabilitate the Malaba/Busia-Bugiri Road, including the Namutere-Busia, Bugiri-Namutere, and Namutere-Malaba sections. In partnership with the project’s supervising engineer SNC Lavalin International, SBI managed every aspect of the project—from planning and financing to design and construction.
The project’s scope included:
● Reconstruction of the entire two-lane dual carriageway in both directions
● Provision and installation of median barriers
● Repairs to existing bridges and concrete drain works
● Construction of two toll plazas
● Provision and installation of street lights
● Pedestrian bridges
● Service lanes for industrial areas
Along with significantly reducing travel time and increasing safety, the new road supports economic growth and development in Malaba, Busia, Bugiri, Namutere and the surrounding communities.
Challenge: Poor design, low-quality materials, wear and tear
Like many roads across the globe, the Malaba/Busia-Bugiri Road was rapidly deteriorating. Rutting, cracks, and potholes made it unsafe to travel, while flawed geometry further compounded the problem. Previous attempts to improve the roadway had either failed or produced only short-term results. Limited capacity and unsafe conditions made the road inconvenient and potentially dangerous, severely impacting the area’s economy and the quality of life for many of its citizens.
A Soil and Pavement Evaluation by SBI found the road in poor condition, built with low-quality materials, and prone to environmental distress from high temperatures, heavy traffic, and extreme weather. Some of the more serious issues included:
● Thermal cracks
● Reflection cracks
● Fatigue cracking
● Rutting and shoving
SBI’s Solution: Quality Roadbuilding
In order to improve the road in the most efficient and environmentally friendly way possible, SBI developed a custom strategy to reuse the road’s existing pavement via Cold Foamed In-Place Recycling (CFIPR) and Bitumen Stabilization (BSM). Along with improving the road’s cohesive strength and reducing its moisture sensitivity, the process minimized traffic disruptions and allowed traffic to resume soon after construction. To ensure the road’s long-term integrity, we created and adhered to a strict quality control plan to monitor density, moisture, and bearing capacity.
SBI started construction of the Malaba/Busia-Bugiri Road in 2011. Throughout the project, we employed high-quality materials and our own advanced machinery (to prevent any procurement delays), along with SBI’s unparalleled engineering, construction, and project management expertise.
SBI’s scope of work included:
● Pre-pulverizing the existing pavement
● Grading and leveling to remove potholes and cracks
● Spreading cement
● Stabilizing and compacting the cement
● Priming the road for use
Throughout the project, we worked to minimize traffic disruptions and facilitate safety for both construction workers and motorists.
Corporate Social Responsibility
As part of SBI’s commitment to social responsibility (CSR)—and in compliance with Ugandan law—we created a Community Development Agreement to give back to our host communities and minimize the environmental impact of the project. Our initiatives included:
● Employment of local youths
● Drilling water boreholes for local communities
● Financial empowerment for business owners and traders
● Respect for traditional courtesies and festive periods
Results: A durable road for commerce and convenience
Completed in 2015, the Malaba/Busia-Bugiri Road features major structural improvements that ensure a durable and reliable roadway that residents and businesses can depend on for years to come.
Besides shortening the journey between Malaba and Busia from two and a half hours to just 30 minutes, the new road has attracted commercial and urban development to the area, increased accessibility for businesses along the roadway, and generated many long-term economic and social opportunities for Uganda.