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Kampala Flyover Road Project! Engineering student recounts one month of hands-on training

By An Executive Editor

As the first phase of the Queen’s Way section comes to an end, Joab Bwambale, a diploma student in Civil Engineering at Ndejje University speaks passionately about his time at the project.

Bwambale was a trainee on the project for one month. During this time, he was in the laboratory.

“It was just one month, but the experience and the skills I got can be for 3 months,” Bwambale, in his final year, says. “I enjoyed my time there. Engineering is more interesting when you are in the field. Most of the things they teach are like imaginations but when you are on site, you see it practically. I saw how everything is pun in order.”

Joab Bwambale (in a green reflector jacket) in the lab for particle size distribution.

During his time on the project, Bwambale had hands-on training in carrying out road tests, tests on concrete and soil particles, among others.

Bwambale says that when he reached the project at the Kampala Flyover, he realized that most of the science in engineering is applied there.

Bwambale and a colleague carries out test on the soils. He says soil used in any road construction project must be tested to ascertain water contents for a fine-grained soil (shrinkage limit, plastic limit and liquid limit)- soil strength, behaviour and consistency.

Importantly, Bwambale noticed that safety is key for anyone on the site.

“What I realized is that the first thing on site is what we call safety. You cannot access that project if you are not putting on a helmet, reflector (showing you) and if you are not putting on a safety shoe. When it comes to the bridge (Queen’s way), you must have a belt (in case of a slight mistake, you can’t fall down but keep you hanging). Safety for a worker or any engineer on that site is very important,” says Bwambale, who describes the project as unique.

Joab Bwambale.

Bwambale adds: “When reached there, I wanted to be in the laboratory. That’s the technical work for diploma students. So, I spent most of my time in the lab. Lab exposes you to the outside world. Whatever they do out there, starts in the lab. We did a lot of tests – on aggregate, soils and everything you see. We used to go for inspections. For example after casting concrete, we would go and check, and carry out further tests on the road.

Bwambale doing a Field Desnity Test (FDT). He says this is very important during earthwork phases of construction in that the bulk density reflects the soil’s ability to function for structural support, water and solute movement, and soil aeration.

Besides laboratory work, Bwambale got involved in other areas.

“I was training under the lab though it helped me to know other things,” Bwambale says and notes that with the experience (from the training), he can now work in any road works laboratory.

“I am planning to go back there for my internship,” Bwambale says.  

Bwambale having a feel of the pot bearing. He explains that a bridge bearing carries the loads or movement in both vertical and horizontal directions from the bridge superstructure and transfers those loads to the bridge piers and abutments and that the loads can be live load or dead (in vertical directions), wind load or earthquake load in horizontal directions.

How he got the opportunity

Bwambale hails from Kasese. When in Kampala, he lives in Makindye.

There was this day that he submitted his internship application at the Ministry of Works and Transport. He was never given any feedback. He went on to call an engineer friend working with Abubaker Technical Services and who is part of the project.

“He asked for an internship letter and the results from the University. I printed and presented them immediately. He told me to return the following day to start training. That’s how I got the opportunity,” Bwambale says.

The Kampala Flyover Project

The Kampala Flyover Road Project, also Kampala Flyover Project, is a road-improvement project in the Central Division of Kampala, the capital city of Uganda and the largest city in that East African country.

The project involves the construction of flyovers at the “Clock Tower”, and at “Kitgum House”, the widening of Nsambya Road and of Mukwano Road, including the improvements of interfacing roads and junctions. The project stretches over an estimated 3.5 kilometres

This road project is intended to decongest the city by separating through-traffic from the city-street-traffic. This project focuses on traffic entering the city, mainly from Entebbe along the old Kampala-Entebbe Road and from Mpigi, along the Kampala-Mpigi Expressway. Traffic from these routes, destined to Lugogo, Nakawa and points along the Kampala-Jinja Highway will find this new route faster and more user-friendly, reducing travel times and leading to less carbon emissions from exhaust fumes installed on the city streets.

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