ADJUMANI. The upgrading of the 66km Atiak-Laropi road project to paved standard has been launched. The 53.8 million euro (Ush 235bn) project is a loan from the European Union.

Mr Alan Ssempebwa Kyobe, the manager media relations at the Uganda national roads authority (UNRA) disclosed that the road is part of the bigger Development Initiative for Northern Uganda (DINU) programme that is being funded by European Union while the government of Uganda has contributed in terms of land acquisition and compensation of affected land owners.

“We expect works to be completed within the project period and quality works by the contractor”, Ssempebwo 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 to the Ugandan capital of Kampala via the regional capital of Gulu.

Mr Levi Okello, the project manager from UNRA explained during the commencement of the project on Thursday that the Atiak-Laropi road will be upgraded from gravel to class II bitumen standard with a carriageway width of 7 metres and 2.0m wide shoulders on either side.

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 centres of Dzaipi, Pakelle, Adjumani town and ends at Umi at the Ferry landing site on River Nile

“The upgrading of Atiak – Laropi Road (66 km) to paved standard will increase the connectivity of a number of Northern districts to the national road network and ensure a stable, all weather connection with the rest of the country”, Okello stated.

Under the project, 4km roads in towns where the roads pass will also be upgraded with streetlights.

Ssempebwa said the project will 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.

Mr Fred Tasiku, a resident of Pakele said since the project site does not have so many obstacles like swamps, rivers and valleys, he expects it to take not more than two years.

A cross section of residents who declined to reveal their identities said they will only celebrate after the completion of the project as it had dragged for long.