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Rwanda Roads

For information on Rwanda Road Network contact details, please see the following link: 4.1 Rwanda Government Contact List

All activities within the road transport sector are managed by the Rwanda Transport Development Agency (RTDA) which operates under the Ministry of Infrastructure (MINIFRA). Within the legal and institutional framework stated in the National Transport Policy, MINIFRA is responsible for the sector's policies and strategies.

Rwanda is dependent on its road transport system for the economic development of the country. All the major towns are connected by the road network. Rwanda is also well connected by the road transport system with the neighbouring countries of Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The road system plays a very important role in the import and export business of the country.

The Rwanda road network has improved through rehabilitation and upgrading during the past years. The total road network covers 2,662 km of paved roads and 11,346 km unpaved roads, making a total of 14,008 km. Roads are classified into national (2,860 km), District (1,835 km) and gravel roads (3,563 km). (Source: RTDA)

Primary roads, which are suitable for heavy long-haul trucks, connect the capital Kigali with the provinces and international border crossings. The paved primary roads link Kigali with the major locations of Ngoma, Kirehe, Huye, Gicumbi, Nyagatare, Rusizi, Musanze and Rubavu. Many of these roads are steep, especially in the Northern and Southern provinces, and therefore travel speeds along these roads should be quite slow.

Secondary roads are generally acceptable for small trucks (15 mt max) but require 4WD during rainy seasons especially on roads in mountainous areas. These roads are narrow, steep and difficult to pass during the 6 – 7 month long rainy season. The condition of the district roads in rural areas will only allow small trucks of a 10 mt capacity during the dry season and only about 5 mt during the rainy season.

Rwanda is a small country and the distances from Kigali to the provincial towns are not very far in relative terms. However, due to road conditions and the terrain, the average travelling time for a heavy loaded vehicle, it takes from Kigali as follows: Huye, 3 hours; Cyangugu, 5 hours; Gisenyi, 2 hours, Ngoma, 3 hours; and Karongi, 4 hours.

All secondary roads are unpaved and become very difficult to travel across during the wet season. Truck movements during the rainy season become very difficult due to floods and mudslides, ,especially with the mountainous terrain of the country, 

The government’s plan to improve the transport sector places emphasis on rural areas. Its major objectives include maintenance and rehabilitation of the rural road network in order to promote commercial exchanges and reviewing the feasibility of an international railway line that connects to the Tanzanian rail network. These initiatives would make a substantial improvement to the infrastructure to support economic growth and ease the burden on humanitarian programmes. 

For more information on Primary Roads in Rwanda, please see the following attachment: Rwanda Primary Roads Information

Distance Matrix

 

Kigali

Muhanga

Huye

Nyamagabe

Rusizi

Karongi

Rubavu

Kigali

 

51

133

161

290

138

156

Muhanga

51

 

83

112

238

87

164

Huye

133

83

 

28

155

119

247

Nyamagabe

161

112

28

 

126

197

312

Rusizi

290

238

155

126

 

130

248

Karongi

138

87

165

197

130

 

110

Rubavu  

156

164

247

312

248

110

 
 

Kigali

Musanze

Gicumbi

Ngoma

Nyagatare

Kigali

 

94

66

114

162

Musanze

94

 

106

224

190

Gicumbi

66

106

 

183

79

Ngoma

114

224

183

 

121

Nyagatare

162

190

79

121

 

Road Security

Security within Rwanda is generally very good and the UN Security level for Rwanda is level 1, except for the north-east of Rwanda close to the DRC border where it is level 2. The security in areas bordering DRC is very volatile due to unpredictable armed conflict in the eastern DRC. 
 

Weighbridges and Axle Load Limits

Following the assent of the East African Community Vehicle load bill, axle loads are limited to 56 mt and a maximum seven axles for commercial trucks. Measurement is based on axle load imposed are for a maximum 10 tons for a single axle t, 18 tons for Tandem and 24 tons for Tridem. A tolerance of 5% of the permissible maximum axle load limit shall be allowed on the axle load limits. All member states will be aligned to that law. Previously, Kenya allowed a maximum of 48 tons for vehicles on its roads, Rwanda and Burundi 53 tons, while Tanzania and Uganda allowed 56 tons. The approved higher payload to be applied will reduce the transport cost. (Sources: Northern Corridor Transit and Transport Coordination Authority and The East African)

Road Class and Surface Conditions

Roads are at present classified into National or District and by surfacing (bitumen or gravel).  

Classification

Road Description

Class – RN

Route National (Bitumen) – There are 13 routes under this classification; they have bitumen surfacing and are international links with Kigali and the major towns within Rwanda.

Class – RN

Route National (Gravel) – There are about 30 routes under this classification; they have gravel surfaces and are international links with Kigali and the major towns.

Class – RD

Route District (Gravel) – There are 77 routes under this classification; they have gravel surfaces and are used for intra & inter-district travel.

Class – UC

Unclassified Routes – All other routes within Rwanda.  

Class – UR

Urban Routes – Urban roads administered by Kigali City Municipality.

Bridges

Generally, rivers are quite small in Rwanda due to the hilly nature of the land. Therefore, the bridges are quite small and are of good construction, resulting in few problems with bridges in urban areas. In the rural areas, bridges are affected by the rainy season. Two major bridges in  the country are the Rusumo Bridge and the Nyabarongo Bridge.

The Rusumo Bridge is located at the Rusumo Border Post on the Central Corridor and was first constructed in the year 1972. The construction of a One Stop Border Post (OSBP) facility between the Republic of Rwanda and the United Republic of Tanzania included the complete replacement with a new bridge, which is 82 m long and 13.5 m wide. The facility, which became operational in November 2014, is an a key entry point for traffic originating from Dar es Salaam in Tanzania to Rwanda, Burundi and DRC. 

The new Rusumo Bridge showing the Rwanda Side
 

 

The upgraded Rusumo bridge


The Nyabarongo Brige, which connects Muhanga and Karongi District in the Western Province