Gov’t extends Shs 235bln Atiak-Laropi road contract

ADJUMANI. The construction of the 66-kilometres Atiak-Laropi road will now be completed by September 30, 2023, after the contractor was given more 18 months to complete the project.

Construction company, STRABAG has been undertaking the construction works for the Euro 53.8 million [Shs 235 billion] road. The project is part of the bigger Development Initiative for Northern Uganda [DINU] programme funded by the European Union [EU].

The three-year contract for the construction of the road began in 2020 and is due to expire in December 2022. STRABAG’s request for an extension by Government has been granted until September next year.

According to Eng. Safet Keco, the programme manager of STRABAG, the completion rate of the work stood at 65.36 percent at the end of October 2022. We may finish the remaining work before the new deadline,” Keco said.

He said that they have completed 62kms of the road, adding that it will take them only eight weeks to finish laying culverts for bridges.

Eng. Bernard Ocan, the road project’s consultant said the streetlights from Atiak Dzaipi to Pakele would be completed by end of February 2023.

The Uganda National Roads Authority [UNRA] area manager Moyo, Julius Mwesigwa has confirmed that STRABAG had been added 18 months to finish its road construction contract.

Mwesigwa said the road would be upgraded from gravel to class II bitumen standard with a carriageway width of seven metres.

A cross-section of the road users in Adjumani district have expressed worries saying the pace at which the work is progressing is very slow. Lindrio Catherine, a resident of Pakele town council where the road passes urged both the contractor and government to speed up the work.

The Moyo district LCV chairman, William Anyama who also doubles as the chairman of West Nile Development Agenda, said the region faces the challenge of a lack of good roads.

He said Atiak – Laropi road is part of the Atiak – Moyo – South Sudan border road which is a regional, national and international route connecting the remote North-Western regions of Uganda and South Sudan.

“We need this road completed, but we did not its quality to be compromised. The road is not for the people of west Nile only but it is an international road,” Anyama said.

Anyama said the road project would contribute towards improving road transportation and trade facilitation along the corridor thus improving transport services and agricultural productivity by connecting remote and disadvantaged districts to the main road network.

The project road traverses through Amuru and Adjumani districts along the Atiak – Moyo – South Sudan border. It runs in a North-westerly direction traversing through the trading centers of Dzaipi, Pakelle, and Adjumani town, and ends at Umi at the Ferry landing site on River Nile.

In November 2020, a dispute ensued between Utukulu Company Limited and STRABAG over ownership of a quarry site whose construction material would be used in constructing the road, hence delaying the project.

The dispute arose when Utukulu claimed it owned the rocks located at Ujigo and that it had secured an exploration license. They then made an exorbitant demand to STRABAG if they were interested but STRABAG declined and instead petitioned the chief administrative officer, Adjumani district.

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