Lowoi Junction Proposed For Juba-Torit Road Repair Camp Site

Lowoi junction near Khor English Bridge in Eastern Equatoria State is proposed as a camp site for the United Nation Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) Japanese engineers working on Juba-Torit road repairs, officials have recommended.

By Peter Lokale Nakimangole

TORIT, 10 October 2013 [Gurtong] –Last week, the UNMISS’ Japanese Engineers, led by contingent’s commander, UNMISS’s chief of joint coordination office Colonel Harutoshi Tsuchiya, met the minister of Physical Infrastructure Hassen Urbano Alex on the rehabilitation of Juba-Torit Road and Bridges following a recent agreement.

Hassen Urbano welcomed the Team on their good progress as he assured them that he will provide them with bridge materials, a promise the government earlier on made to the UNMISS.

Last month, the UNMISS unveiled its plans to repair the highway and bridges, a move which prompted Eastern Equatoria State citizens to strongly welcome the plans by the UNMISS to initiate on repairing the Juba-Torit road and fix the bridges.

The UNMISS Coordinator in EES, Ms. Hiroko Hirahara Mosko, announced to the press in Torit that her Mission will only engage in repairing and fixing bridges, as an answer to its poor condition.

She disclosed that apart from individual causal workers will be hired and be given two months or so contracts and there are about one 150 Japanese engineers to carry out technical expertise and handle equipment operations on the road drainage.

The leader did not disclose the cost to complete the road works but revealed that all the technical expertise and equipment to handle the upcoming operations is in kind contribution by UNMISS.

“By the way it is not Nisitu but the journey begins from Juba-Torit all the way to Torit Capital. This is basically; by the way it is not a paved road. This is basically fixing of bridges and sides and grading drainages,” the Coordinator clarified to a Journalist’s.

She clarified that for brick materials the national government is responsible to provide these.

“And I have no idea how much the cost is, because technical expertise and equipment all this operations cost is in kind contribution of the UNMISS. So the drainages are difficult, they cost these things,” she said.

In the last nearly two years, the main highway has been so deplorable with the most developed complicated potholes coupled with a number of broken bridges.

The Juba-Torit highway is extended to Kenya’s Nairobi through Eastern Equatoria State’s Kapoeta town and Lokichoggio of Kenya.

This follows recent appeals to the national government and partners operating within the state for contribution in order to enable state authority service constructions of Torit-Juba and Torit-Kapoeta highways have so far received no attention.

In June, the former State Roads and Transport Minister Charles Lokonoi Ambrose who is now the state Local Government, Law Enforcement and Wildlife Conservation announced that at the beginning of this year, the state government came out clear through mass media appealing to well wishers or the potential donors for intervention.

In April, the formers state Road Minister raised an alarm that road conditions in his State were extremely alarming as rain season was approaching.

Speaking to Journalists at his office in Torit, the Minister believed that the move by the well wishers or the potential donors for the intervention appears to be a clear rejection or lack of commitment from them.

He said there were a few agencies his state through Ministry approached with letters of appeal for the intervention but no response was received.

Considering road deplorable conditions including highways, the Minister cited Torit-Juba, Torit-Kapoeta, Hiyala-Tseretenya, Kapoeta Nadapal, among others in the State saying it requires more attention for action.

Citing Kudo bridge between Torit and Lirya, Loyakali at between Buno and Korjip along Kapoeta-Narus highway and the four critical bridges between Kapoeta and Loriyok towns which have become difficult to use as they are becoming bad with multiple potholes in them, the Minister appeals for swift attention and action from the national government to intervene as all the highways he has mentioned are in dangerous condition saying if there is no appropriate concentration from relevant authorities, the Torit, being the State capital of Eastern Equatoria, will soon be detached from the Country’s city Juba.

Prior to the rainy season, several different Counties’ residents had been appealing to the state government to move in and repair roads.

This later prompted the state government to officially launch the appeal to well wishers through the national government but their responses have not so far earned fruitful results.

The roads Minister was worried that it may not be the only administrative and commercial centre’s to be affected by the cited conditions because of Kudo bridge, but even Kapoeta town would also follow as it would be cut off soon from Torit capital due to the four critical bridges between Kapoeta and Loriyok (of Budi County) towns which have now turned out to be difficult to use as they are each day becoming bad with multiple potholes.

Blaming the national authorities for highway construction of Nisitu-Nadapal delays, the Minister complained that the road remains the only path for Juba to get connected to Kenya through Nadapal of South Sudan and Lokichogio of Kenya which would boost bilateral ties through trade hence economic exchanges.

In January this year, the former Roads and Transport Minister, Lokonoi, had complained that the selection of a competent company to start tarmacking the road had created doubts and dissatisfaction by the people on the side of the government because of delays to have the work commenced saying delays by the former National Roads and Bridges Ministry in selecting a competent company to undertake the construction of the Nisitu-Nadapal highway had deferred the commencement of works.

While appreciating the World Bank for its commitment to funding government’s plan to the road linking with Kenya, the minister urged the leadership of the National Ministry of Roads and Bridges under the then headship of Gier Chuong, help expedite the selection process of a competent company so to enable the work start soon on the project funded by the World Bank.

He clarified that the former National Ministry of Roads and Bridges in close consultation with the World Bank, was still looking for trusted single contractor so it will re-contract other subcontractors to do the highway which would begin at Nadapal until it ends at Nisitu in Juba.

The ex-minister explained that the sub-contractors shall divide the highway into 50 kilometres each but shall be supervised by the senior globally contracted company.

He believed once the highway will enhance trade and industry between the two countries.

In October 2012, the minister announced that the construction would commence within with World Bank donation of the whole project costing a US$ 360 Million.

The project was to be completed in three to four years.

Out of US$ 360 Million, the ex-Minister revealed US$ 75 Million has been released to enable the phase one construction.

Nadapal, the main border linking South Sudan to Kenya is where the construction of road will commences while Nisitu, where Torit road intersects Nimule-Juba highway, will end.

The minister assured that the construction will commence and US$ 75 Million had been released to enable the construction.

He said the state managed to get assistance from United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and contracted a company to ensure items of unexploded ordinance are removed on the sides of the road so that construction is smooth.

Last year, Kenya and South Sudan were in talks to construct a US$ 1 billion road linking Eldoret to Juba to enhance trade between the two countries.

The 920 kilometre Eldoret-Juba road is critical to enhancing trade between the two countries.

The road would have a one-stop border post at Nadapal, axle load facilities and social amenities like boreholes and security outposts.

The former South Sudan minister for Roads and Bridges, Mr Gier Aluong, said the country’s citizens have put the government under pressure to upgrade the road network, which has immense social, economic and geopolitical importance.

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