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Delayed Masindi Port -Kitgum road works hamper business

Several businesses along the Masindi Port -Rwekunye, Apac-Lira-Kitgum road have been crippled by the deteriorated state, made worse by ongoing torrential rains and the heavy trucks that habitually use it.

Government contracted Turkish Gulsan Insaat Sanayi Turizm Nakliyat Ve Tecaret from Turkey and Sadeem Al General Trading from Kuwait to undertake the road works valued at Shs 750 billion.

The project has been split into two parts, with the Kuwaiti firm contracted to build the 90.9km Rwenkunyu-Apac stretch for Shs 337.5bn, while the Turkish firm will upgrade the 100.1km Apac-Lira-Puranga section for about  Shs 416.3bn. 

The road works are being undertaken with support from the Islamic Development bank.

A month after President Yoweri Museveni flagged off the tarmacking of Masindi-Pader to Acholibur Highway, motorists are having a hard time using the road given its current state. 

When theCooperator  toured the road, many passengers were seen struggling to access the road, sections of which had been submerged by water.

Due to the poor state of the road, road users, especially those seeking to access Apac town from Aduku Township, have been forced to use the longer route from Teboke-Chegere up to Kole Town Council to connect to Apac, Kole, Lira and Kampala city.

Simon Amanya, a Mbale-based businessman, says he is counting losses after his truck slipped off the road and fell into a swamp between Aduku and Apac. He also lost 200 sacks of maize worth over Shs 30m in the same accident.

“I have incurred a great loss due to the poor status of this road. My truck fell into water and most of my maize grains got wet. The vehicle got spoiled and as of now I don’t know how I will go to Mbale and how I will recover the losses. Government needs to do something about this road,” he said.

Jimmy Obura,  a Tipper driver who operates on the Aduku to Lira road, says he has lost many customers as most now opt for alternative routes Lira city given the road’s poor status

“This road has forced many vehicles off this road due to frequent breakdown of vehicles.”

Lillian Adongo, residents of Alira parish in Aduku Sub County says that due to the bad road they can neither access medical services at Aduku Health Center IV nor transport their farm produce to Lira. 

“The Uganda National Road Authority (UNRA) should  rehabilitate this road as we await the planned tarmacking.”

However, Mark Ssali, the UNRA Spokesperson says the Authority is unable to rehabilitate the said road since the project has already been awarded to contractors for tarmacking. Ssali said that they can only come in when the situation goes out of hand.

“Yes, we are aware of the status of Masindi Port- Rwekunye, Apac-Lira-Kitgum Road, but  according to the contract agreement form, we are not allowed to do repair of roads already awarded to contractors; we can only come in when the situation goes out of hand,” Ssali said.

“We are yet to send our team on the ground to access the magnitude of the situation and see what to do,” he said in a telephone interview.

Eng. Harriet Ogam, the UNRA Station Engineer in charge of Lango  was unreachable for comment.

Bazil Okello Onac, the Kwania District LC V Chairman, observed that the poor condition of the said road is not only holding back local economic growth but also hampering regional trade. He asked the government to expedite the process of tarmacking the said road.

While flagging off the project recently, President Museveni noted that the road project once completed would increase connectivity in the region, facilitate trade and help exploit the agricultural opportunities in the area.

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