Residents residing along the 92km Muyembe Nakapiripiriti stretch undergoing upgrade into a paved bituminous standard road are celebrating a turnover in fortunes even in the early stages of the construction of the road. @UNRA_UG @UNRA_ED #WhisperEyeNews
The road under construction is benefiting three districts of Bulambuli, Kween, and Nakapiripiriti.
Gawa Anderson a taxi driver that plies the Jinja to Moroto route says the new road under construction is already fair enough since they now spend less time on the road. He adds that replacing of the Namalera bridge in Namalu sub-county in Nakapiripiriti meant that they now stopped using the longer route of Jinja, and Soroti en route to Moroto. He adds that they have now gone through Kween ever since the Namalera bridge was replaced. “… I can now make three return trips between Jinja and Moroto on a good day, unlike the previous times where I would make two trips with a very small profit margin…”
At Ngenge fuel pump, Eidar William the operator is optimistic that once completed, the road shall present more business opportunities since he is already fueling more vehicles and Boda Bodas than he has been fueling. “…business has improved and my bosses now intend to expand the pump since they believe the road shall bring better business…”.
Some residents of Cheptui village say that they are happy with the road construction because they now easily access other towns with ease. They add that some developments like homes are springing up along the road. They add that the contractor has involved them as labor providers. “… the contractor does not give us a hard time when they employ us. They make fair payments for the service that we provide and they respect us as fellow humans. The company cars sometimes give us lifts sometimes like when it is raining…”
Some charcoal sellers are also reaping from the increasing traffic on the road. They are optimistic that when complete, they shall easily move their cars to busier areas for market. They add that before the company takes any decision, they consult the locals and so they have appreciated the project as their own.
Interviewed for this story, the Resident District Commissioner of Kween District Nalongo Kwesiga, the construction of the road by the contractor is now on time and she is optimistic that the contractors shall handover the job within the schedule that had been agreed upon when the contract for the road was awarded. Kwesiga dismisses all the previous unfounded claims that the contractor did not have equipment saying that covid had disrupted them just like it had disrupted other people as well.
“…it had been reported earlier on that these people did not have equipment. We have witnessed enough equipment to sustain the project. There was a delay in the project because of covid. Work has resumed and I have got all the reason to believe that the completion of the project shall be in time…”.
She adds that from her observation and interactions with the Ugandan service providers working on the road, Kwesiga says the majority of the service providers are Ugandans and they have also employed 70 ladies to be part of the construction team to provide assistance in their areas of expertise which she said has encouraged the community to embrace the project as their own.
Burak Sarp Ozberk the quality site material engineer says that they have committed to employing very many Ugandans whom they have openly exposed to other experts in the road construction field from Turkey. He says that they are deliberate on knowledge transfer and training of the locally sourced staff becomes it presents capacity for the people.
He says that their priority section during the construction is 0 -65km where they have managed the tests from the laboratory and have also given details to their designers to be adjusted with the soil samples and by next week shall start the second priority section of 65 – 92km.
He adds that they were previously affected by the heavy rains though they have now changed the work schedule. “…here, it rains daily from 2:00 o’clock to 4:00 o’clock. We now wake up early to ensure that we can regain the time lost… I am sure that we are within the timeline and we shall deliver a good road that shall last for the next 20 years…”
He dismisses rumors that they do not have the necessary equipment to accomplish the project saying they have previously undertaken bigger projects in Ethiopia, Turkey, and Morocco which they always delivered within the timeline as stipulated within the contract of the project. “…I do not know the exact dates but we shall be handing over a completed road in 2023 as the contract says…”
He adds that they are currently following the artworks and they have already established their crusher and also laid box culverts and pipe culverts. Since some densely populated areas exist along the road under construction, they have deployed water browsers to help in managing the dust.