MARACHA. Local residents on both sides of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo are excited about the upgrading of a road that has been abandoned for close to two decades without maintenance.

The locals claim that a section of the bushy road, especially at Simbili corner curve, has been a black spot where robbers have been terrorising the business community and local residents on both sides of the border.

Bush clearing on the 38km road is being done stretching from Aufe-mvaniku trading centre at the border with Koboko district to Angu-owibo in Oluvu sub-county, Maracha district.

“We are grateful to the district for upgrading this road, it will help us but we ask the officials to speed up the shaping of the road because it still remains inaccessible even though bush clearance is done”, a resident identified as Mr Isidoro Odradria said.

Other residents said they felt neglected when the district failed to work on the road for some time yet the same road on Koboko side has always been well maintained.

Residents at Dubai trading centre said the poor state of the road has always left them worried about insecurity.

The district council passed a resolution in 2017 directing the district chairman to write to the minister of Works and Transport to fund the road at the national level as the district budget could not afford the maintenance.

An assessment done by the Works ministry on the road established that it required about shs1.7 billion. District officials said the current rehabilitation is being done to wait for the decision from the ministry and Uganda National Roads Authority.

The district council approved shs50 million for road maintenance this financial year to start upgrading of the road.

According to the districts engineer Mr Timothy Ezati, the road was planned to be worked on in 2018/19 at in phased manner in the next three financial years.

Ezati stated that requested ministry of works to give them a bulldozer from the regional centre in Gulu district and facilitated its transportation to do the bush clearance on the 18 km stretch from Malaba to Osidribiku that had fully grown forests.

“We have planned to do shaping, formation and gravelling of the road next financial year, but the current money allocated by the district council and district roads committee is enough only to shape a small section on the 18Km stretch from Atoro to Osidribiku trading centres which we have done”, Ezati explained.

The routine maintenance of the international border road has been done by Uganda alone over a long period though the route is used by nationals of the two countries.