Amuru, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The government and the European Union have injected Shillings 16.3 billion into upgrading the 66 kilometer stretch of Atiak-Laropi road that connects Acholi and West Nile sub-region. The road runs from Atiak at the junction of Gulu-Atiak-Nimule highway and runs North West traversing through Dzaipi and Pakelle trading centers, and ends up at the docking site on Albert Nile.
Upgrading of the road to bitumen II (tarmac) standard that commenced in March 2020 is expected to end in 2023. The project is being undertaken by Strabag International, an Austrian based multinational construction company. Dickens Kidega, a commuter taxi driver on the Gulu-Atiak-Adjumani route says for decades, the gravel road has been a menace posing navigational challenges to motorists due to multiple gullies and potholes.
Joan Drokoa, a roadside merchant at Pakelle town council says there is already a sigh of relief because of the reduction in clouds of dust that annually threaten their businesses especially during the dry season. Geoffrey Osborn Oceng, the Amuru Resident District Commissioner has asked the contractor and Uganda National Roads Authority-UNRA to consider opening up 2-kilometers of tarmac road in Atiak town council as part of their corporate social responsibility.
Gonzaga Mayanja, a commissioner in the Office of the Prime Minister who led the EU delegation in a spot monitoring visit to the road project on Thursday said the road will contribute towards improving transportation and facilitate trade along Uganda-South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo corridors.
Head of Section – Inclusive Green Economy under the EU, Palvos Evangelidis on the other hand observed that the new Atiak-Laropi road will create opportunities by connecting remote areas through enhancement of transport services and agricultural productivity.
Bernard Ocan, the deputy team Leader and an on-site Resident Consultant Engineer told URN that the ongoing road upgrade includes the construction of docking piers on the Albert Nile at Umi, Adjumani and across the river at Laropi in Moyo district.
The road project is being implemented under the Development Initiative for Northern Uganda (DINU) Programme with joint funding by the European Union 85% and Government of Uganda 15%.
The project road also traverses Amuru, Adjumani and Moyo districts along the Uganda-South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) border.