Main road network
According to wholevehicles, Uganda’s National Road Network (NRN) includes 21,010 kilometers of road, of which 5,370 kilometers were paved by 2021. The NRN also includes ten ferry services. The road network is divided into classes A, B, C and M (motorways).
Uganda’s road network is not very extensive, but the paved road network serves all major cities. The road network is especially thin in the north. Dirt roads become impassable after rainfall and rainfall is frequent in Uganda, complicating transport outside the main axes. Various roads lead from Kampala to other parts of the country and neighboring countries, such as the road from Kampala to Busia on the border with Kenya, the main transport axis for international traffic. The road from Kampala via Gulu to the border with South Sudan is also frequently used, including for traffic to the Central African Republic. Two roads lead west, splitting to Beni in the DR Congo and to Kigali in Rwanda. A main road to Bukoba in Tanzania runs along Lake Victoria.
One of the most important roads was the partly 2×2 road from Kampala to Entebbe Airport, which was relieved in 2018 with the opening of the Kampala – Entebbe Expressway. Traffic in Kampala is chaotic. Only the main main roads through Kampala are paved, almost all side streets are unpaved.
- According to Abbreviationfinder, Kampala is the capital of Uganda.
A city road in Kampala.
The capital Kampala is the center of the Ugandan road network, all major roads run from Kampala to other parts of the country. These converge at the center. There is also a bypass that has been upgraded to a motorway, the Kampala Bypass. However, this bypass cuts straight through a built-up area, a larger part of the urbanized area lies outside the bypass than inside it. It is both a bypass for through traffic and a collection road for much of the city traffic.
Traffic in Kampala is busy and chaotic, with large amounts of pedestrians and other slow traffic sharing the road with motorized traffic. Major roads in Kampala have segregated carriageways and formally 4 to 6 lanes. There are a number of major intersections and roundabouts around the center.
Kampala’s road network is less developed than in Nairobi, for example. Only the main city roads are paved, almost all residential streets are unpaved, except in the center, where almost all streets are asphalted.
|Main roads in Uganda|
|Kampala Bypass • Kampala – Entebbe Expressway • Kampala – Jinja Expressway|
Highways in Uganda
The Source of the Nile Bridge in Jinja.
There are two highways in Uganda, the 24 km long Kampala – Entebbe Expressway and the 21 km long Kampala Bypass.
A number of new highways in Uganda are planned;
- Kampala – Jinja (2×4, toll road)
- Kampala – Mpigic
- Kampala – Bombo
The old Kampala – Entebbe Road near Kitende.
The national road authority is the Uganda National Road Authority (UNRA). The agency was established under the UNRA Act of 2006. In 2008, the Uganda Road Fund was also established to ensure continuous financing of the road network. The Uganda Road Fund finances the Annual Road Maintenance Programs (ARMP) implemented by the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) and the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA).
The basis of the Ugandan road network was already laid in British colonial times, a large part of today’s main roads has been created during that time. At the time, the road network was strongly focused on Kampala, almost all significant roads led from Kampala. After colonial times, however, the road network was little developed during the regimes of Obote and Amin. The country gradually developed from the 1990s, although few significant road projects were carried out until after 2000.
The national road network was expanded considerably in 2010 from 9,800 to 20,544 kilometers. The network of paved roads covered 2,652 kilometers in 2007, 3,121 kilometers in 2010 and 5,370 kilometers in 2020. The share of paved roads of the National Road Network grew from 15% in 2010 to 26% in 2020.
In the period 2004-2009 the Kampala Bypass was constructed, originally as a single carriageway road with roundabouts. This road soon became congested due to the extreme population growth in Kampala. In 2018, the Kampala – Entebbe Expressway opened as Uganda’s first expressway. The construction was financed and carried out by a Chinese state-owned company. In 2018, the Source of the Nile Bridge opened in Jinja, a cable- stayed bridge over the source of the Nile. This is the most prominent bridge in Uganda. In 2018, a bypass of the city of Mbarara with 2×2 lanes also opened. In the period 2018-2021, the Kampala Bypass was further upgraded to a motorway with the construction of a second carriageway and grade-separated connections. This doubling was carried out by a Portuguese construction company.
The first toll road in Uganda was the Kampala-Entebbe Expressway, where tolls have been levied since 2022. It is planned to fund more roads with tolls.
The A109 as it was numbered in the past.
Uganda probably no longer has active road numbering. Some maps indicate road numbers in Uganda, but the Uganda National Roads Authority does not use road numbers in its documents and official road maps. The roads are mentioned by their names. There are road classes A, B, C and M.
In the past Uganda had integrated road numbering with Kenya and Tanzania, this originated from the 1960s when the East Africa Community was established. However, there was little clarity about the road numbering in Uganda, the numbers A104 and A109 would run through the country, but which route exactly is often unclear. The A109 probably ran from the border with Kenya at Tororo via Jinja, Kampala and Fort Portal to the border with the DR Congo at Mpondwe.
Signage in Uganda is relatively limited. It is modeled on that of the United Kingdom. Green signs with white letters are used, with the Transport font. The signage is in English, the spelling uses the British English variant.
In 2004, the speed limit in Uganda was established as 50 km/h in built-up areas and 100 km/h on paved roads outside built-up areas. 80 km/h applies on gravel roads. Trucks are allowed a maximum of 80 km/h outside built-up areas, heavy trucks 60 km/h.