Poor state of Lira-Pader road paralyzes transport

A section of the Acholibur-Puranga road

Lira, Uganda |  THE INDEPENDENT |   Transport along the 61.5 kilometer Acholibur-Puranga road in Pader district came to a halt for the better part of Wednesday morning due to the bad state of the road. Several travelers spent the night in the cold along the road because of a truck that got stuck a few meters away from Pajule Town council, blocking more than 30 trucks from Lira and Kitgum districts. Sections of the busy road in Pajule Town Council have been in a poor state since March.

The road is a corrugated surface, potholes and poor drainage.  The situation worsened recently because of the heavy rains pounding the region.  Brilliant Tito Okello, the Pajule Sub county LC III Chairperson told Uganda Radio Network in an interview on Wednesday that Uganda National Roads Authority have for long abandoned maintenance works on the road. He says heavy rains being experienced in the region coupled with heavily laden trucks that ply the route have left it messy and impassible.   Luo 

Okello says due to the bad roads, drivers have made a diversion into the community to avoid bad spots, which has also taken a toll on community access roads. He appeals to UNRA officials to intervene and carry out maintenance works to ensure normal traffic flow resumes.  Adam Wanjala, a businessman from Mbale says they have now been stuck on the road for a week after their truck tipped over with several tones of groundnut shells at a bad spot in Pajule Sub County.

Wanjala says they have used up all the money in their possession for feeding and loading groundnut shells destined for Mount Meru Factory as fuel. Lucy Akidi, a resident of Gwengkoro village in Lapul Sub-county says drivers go through her compound and garden to escape bad spots in Pajule Town council. She says her potatoes and sorghums have since been destroyed by vehicles and calls for compensation from the local leaders and UNRA.

Bosco Ojara, another resident of Lapul Sub County, says with access roads within the community destroyed, there will be difficulty in transporting patients for medical treatment and candidates who are supposed to resume classes on Thursday. Felix Tumukunde Beinamaryo, the UNRA Kitgum Station Manager acknowledges the poor state of the road but notes that they cannot conduct full repairs because it's due for upgrading to tarmac by a different contractor.  Puranga-Acholi bur road is part of the Rwekunye-Masindi Port road that runs to Apac and Lira road network measuring about 256 kilometers that is set to be tarmacked. Beinamryo says they are currently conducting spot improvement to ensure resumption of normal traffic flow along the road until the contractor is on site.

He however faulted some truck drivers who carry excess tonnage of logs from neighboring South Sudan for the continued destruction of the road. Government has already secured about Shillings 753.5 billion for construction of Rwenkunye-Apac-Lira-Puranga Road (191km). Efforts to secure funding for the construction of Puranga - Acholibur road (61.5km) are ongoing.

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