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Juba-Rumbek highway construction resumes

Author: Kelly Abale | Published: Thursday, December 10, 2020

Tarmac on Juba-Rumbek road was partially washed away by rain water in May 2020 | Credit | Courtesy

Construction work on the Juba-Rumbek highway is set to resume six months after the project was suspended.

Vice President for the Infrastructure cluster announced on Tuesday that the company is under strict instructions to meet international standards while constructing the highway.

“This road must be delivered as a quality -not just only a road but must be a quality road,” Taban Deng Gai stated.

In May, heavy rains and floods washed away the tarmac on parts of the newly constructed Juba-Rumbek road.

The layers of gravel under the asphalt were reported to be weak and easily washed off by water.

The Minister of Roads and Bridges acknowledged the shoddy work and issued a public apology.

Shandong Hi-speed which is in-charge of the construction also admitted that the damage was caused by overflowing water which occurred at a section with a length of 80 meters, and another section with a length of 300 meters.

The government then moved to suspend work until the company develops a new design for the highway.

According to Taban Deng, the project will continue to be funded by crude oil.

“The oil from greater Unity is for development while the oil from northern upper Nile is for our running costs -the salaries and other urgent issues of the government,” he said.

Taban disclosed that the oil money will further be used to construct more infrastructure across the country to improve trade and mobility.

“Not only for Rumbek road or Juba-Malakal Road but other roads,” he said. “We want to see airports, we want to see cities, we want to see universities -these are the arrangements we shall be discussing with our partners.”

The Managing Director of Shandong Hi-speed said they are ready to apply lessons learned from the previous work.

“We have learnt a lot of lessons from our experience in building quite a lot of larger demand projects,” Lim Son said while visiting the construction site of the Juba-Rumbek road on Tuesday.

“We are growing stronger with our past experiences and we are very happy to share our experience with our South Sudanese colleagues and friends.”

The Shandong Hi-Speed company embarked on the $700 million project early last year after being allocated crude oil to construct the Juba – Terekeka – Yirol – Rumbek road project.

The 400 kilometres highway is expected to end in Wau, Western Bahr el Ghazal state.

The Ministry of Roads had projected that a one-kilometre of tarmac road would cost the government about 1.5 million US dollars.

The cost was attributed to the supposed thickness of the top layer of the tarmac, the asphaltic concrete to be used and the traffic envisaged.

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