Lira, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has flagged off the tarmacking of Masindi-Pader to Acholibur Highway. The upgrade of the 191km road running from Rwenkunyu in Masindi through Apac and Lira to Puranga town in Pader district is expected to begin around November following the launch of the construction works on Wednesday.
Government has contracted Turkish Gulsan Insaat Sanayi Turizm Nakliyat Ve Tecaret from Turkey and Sadeem Al General Trading and Contracting from Kuwait to undertake the road works valued at Shillings 750 billion. The project has been split into two parts. Sadeem Al General Trading and Contracting will build the 90.9km Rwenkunyu-Apac stretch at over Shillings 337.5b while the Turkish firm will upgrade the 100.1km Apac-Lira-Puranga section for more than Shillings 416.3b.
Government is undertaking the projects with support from the Islamic Development Bank. Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony held at Anai Primary School, Lira City East Division, president, Yoweri Museveni noted that the road project will increase connectivity in the region, facilitate trade and help exploit the agricultural opportunities in the area.
“Also to note, is that the road from Tororo all the way to Kamdini, will be done afresh. We now have a lot of traffic headed to South Sudan using this road. It will be made stronger and wider. It will become a four-lane road, 18 meters wide with walkways,” Museveni observed.
Adding that “We are also designing a cable-stayed bridge at Masonville port like the one of Jinja. Later, the government will construct more roads like the one from Dokolo to Namasale to the lake, shortening the distance between Lango, Nakasongola and Kampala.”
He also revealed that the government is considering opening a new road from Soroti- Obalanga- Amudat- Acholi-Pi to enhance revenue. Allen Kagina, the Executive Director of Uganda National Roads Authority-UNRA explained that the project will be linked to the Puranga-Acholibur (61.5km) and Acholibur-Musingo (86km) roads to form a major regional corridor connecting Uganda and South Sudan.
“Upgrading this road will improve access to markets, a reduction in public transport costs and saving time, road safety, access to social services, and boost local economies. It will enhance inter-regional trade volumes, especially between Uganda and South Sudan and regional competitiveness,” Kagina said. She said the procurement for the project kicked off about five years ago, but it couldn’t take place due to financial constraints.
“This is a milestone. The project was put on hold because the loan was suspended in the past. It is a very important road for us,” Kagina argued. The construction of the project will take 36 months. There will be a 12-month defects liability period after commissioning. Kagina said the contractors would be given three months to mobilize equipment and that construction might begin in November.
UNRA has asked the contractors to adhere to the international environmental and social safety guidelines in the project’s execution, adding that sanctions will be applied in the event of violations.
“No form of child Labour, gender based violence and sexual exploitation, environmental degradation or unsafe working practices will be tolerated on this project. We have put in place frameworks where we shall work with communities along the project to ensure that these requirements are enforced,” Kagina stated.
Sezgin Koral, a Consular at the Turkish embassy in Kampala appreciated the government for hiring a company from his country to execute part of the project, saying it will be executed to Uganda’s satisfaction.