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Gulu City Council creates one-way streets to regulate traffic

Queens Avenue, one of the streets within Gulu City that has been created as one way street with parking designated to one side only. PHOTO URN

Gulu, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Gulu City Council authorities have turned selected streets within the busy city centre to become one-way traffic routes for motorists.

The move which had been approved by the city council in the 2022/23 Financial year seeks to ease and regulate the flow of traffic within the city. It followed concerns over traffic congestion arising from narrow roads and unregulated parking of light and heavy vehicles.

The roads that have so far been marked to become one-way, with designated parking on one side include Queens Avenue, Olya Road, Labwo Road, and Aliker Road. Three of the selected roads, Olya, Queen’s Avenue, and Labwo Road have been designated with cycling lanes. The roads designed as two-way are Awere Avenue, Gulu Avenue, and Andrea Olal Road with parking on one side only.

Gulu City Engineer Christo Balmoi Omara says that owing to the narrow design of the roads within the city, the council felt compelled to create one-way streets and regulate parking in order to ensure an orderly flow of traffic and parking which had been a mess in the past.

Balmoi says the city will not hesitate to fine offenders who break the traffic guidelines arguing that road signs that indicate one-way street and side parking have clearly been marked for the road users to see.

“There are already signs that show and guide the one way, the markings on the street are visible that guide the driver. Any driver who has gone through training should understand this and if they are caught disobeying, they will be penalized,” Balmoi told Uganda Radio Network in an interview.

Uganda Radio Network has learnt that a total of 133 million Shillings has been used for marking and designing the selected streets. The road marking exercise kicked off last month and was undertaken by Destiny Civil Engineering Co. Ltd.

According to Balmoi, the city council is also planning to install traffic lights at selected road intersections that have become black spots within the city with the intention of regulating traffic. He says already a token of 600 million Shillings has been earmarked to purchase three traffic lights each estimated to cost about 200 million Shillings.

The traffic lights will be installed at the intersections at the former roundabout on the main street, Market Street intersection, and the intersection at Airfield Road adjacent to the Gulu Central Police station.

Gulu City Council Mayor Alfred Okwonga told Uganda Radio Network in an interview on Monday that the narrow streets had become risky for road users. Okwonga says the decision will help to restore traffic order among the various road users especially motorcyclists and vehicle drivers arguing that the number of vehicles has increased in the recent past.

“There has been a number of road crashes on these streets we selected to become one-way because of traffic mess in the past. Our hope is that these accidents will scale down,” Says Okwonga. City council authorities in the past faulted the design of the current roads within the city centre constructed with funding from the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) as being narrow.

Gulu attained city status in July 2020 and has since witnessed an increased volume of traffic.