Challenges of managing road reserves in Uganda. A case study of Busolwe Town Council, Butaleja District
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It is widely recognized that an operational road network is a key leverage to inclusive economic growth and to poverty alleviation. This role is reflected in the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030, which set targets for improving the ability to access transportation and for developing the quality, reliability, safety, sustainability and resilience of roads, bridges and other infrastructure Africa is the fastest urbanizing continent in the world. The growth of an urban area due to influx of people in search of employment usually takes its toll on the land and the built environment. This is evident by the growth of squatter settlements, illegal occupation of government land and erection of illegal structures on any open space in the city. The study therefore assessed status of planned road reserves in Busolwe Town Council and set to find out the challenges in managing road reserves that have caused the gradual encroachments. Considering Busolwe Town Council central business area as a case study, the study was carried out in three cells that is to say Nakwiga, Busolwe central, and Busolwe wards and the major focus is on the challenges of managing road reserves. In an attempt to understand this issue, there was need to dig deeper and establish the causes of encroachment on road reserves and in abid to do this the initial width of the road reserves was considered while under taking this study. Road reserves in Busolwe TC are spaces that are prone to encroachment due to increasing population in the town need for more land for settlement and business activities, farming inclusive. The core of this research study sought to investigate the challenges in managing road reserves due to the unplanned growth of the town. The study had the following study objectives: To establish the type, nature and extent of railway and road reserves encroachment in Kampala City; To establish the type, nature and extent of road reserves encroachment in Busolwe Town council; To examine the mechanism used by road management authorities in protecting and controlling road reserves in Butaleja District; To find out the challenges of road reserves management in Busolwe Town council; To establish strategies that could be implemented to enhance management and protection of road reserves in Butaleja district. Data were collected using questionnaires and interviews of the stakeholders as well as assessment and review of information available on encroachment. Secondary data was obtained from both published and unpublished materials, library and internet research. Primary data was obtained from the field captured by taking photographs, distribution of questionnaires to key respondents, interviews and observation and among other methods, these were analyzed by the use of quantitative and qualitative data analysis methods including SPSS and presented in form of graphs and pie charts. Staffs of Busolwe TC, UNRA, RVR and were the main respondents interviewed. The local people such as church leaders, LC officials, ordinary people, opinion leaders and community development officers were also interviewed and provided supplementary information. The data were analyzed using mixed methods. Frequency-percentage tables, bar graphs and pie charts were used in analyzing quantitative data while narrative text was used in analyzing qualitative data. Study findings revealed that road reserves were encroached on by settlements, farming activities as well as other forms of informal businesses such as vending and tree nurseries. The findings from the study indicated that the major challenge in managing road reserves is limited community sensitization. Other than that the other challenges were limited involvement of the various stakeholders in road reserve management, limited resources by local authority, Political interference, poor organization of the town for instance absence of a gazetted taxi park, laxity in the enforcement of regulations governing roads, lack of clear demarcation to mention but a few. The study findings further showed that the increase in the cases of encroachment affected the quality of service delivery and road safety. For example, it affected the flow of traffic and caused flooding due to clogging of drainage channels. The study further observed that while mechanisms have been formulated to protect the reserves, a number of loopholes existed in their implementation. For example, the TV messages were played at odd hours. The study concluded that the increased encroachment on road reserves has affected the quality of service delivery. The study recommended the need for management of the road infrastructure to engage the services of the local people, need for carrying regular inspections and need for amending the weak laws and associated penalties, the need for rigorous sensitization, collaboration with zonal leaders, involvement of road users and periodic monitoring of the marks erected in order to improve on the management and protection of road reserves.