2008 was the year two neighboring western Ugandan towns were fully opened to each other by a modern tarmac road.
Fort Portal and Kasese towns, both located at the foothills of the Rwenzori Mountain, were for years separated by a near-impassable murrum road. Erisa Karamagi, the Manager of Link Transporters, recalls how it would take four hours to make the short 74-kilometer journey from Fort Portal to Kasese. He says the dust and potholes made the journey so unbearable that many travelers to Kasese opted to use longer routes through the Masaka-Mbarara Road.
This year CICO, a Chinese construction company, handed over the new Kasese-Fort Portal Road to government.
Erisa Karamagi says the new road has enabled him to cut down his costs because of fewer car repairs and increased traffic along the road. Although he is excited about the prospect of the new road, he asks government to increase road safety along the route by placing speed bumps at busy town centers.
//Cue in: iSome trading centers #i
Cue out: i# speeding.i//
John Barongo, the Manager of Kalita Transporters, says the new road is a blessing for his business. He has five buses plying the route everyday and the number of passengers is rising.
John Mujuni, who transports raw materials to Hima Cement Factory in Kasese, says the old road caused numerous problems for his business, particularly in the late supply of goods. He says that with the new road he is able to make five trips from Fort Portal to Kasese everyday.