NAMALU – The Muyembe-Nakapiripirit road has historically been vulnerable to heavy rains and with Covid 19 restrictions, there has been slow progress on road construction.
In November 2019 when a Turkish construction firm, Polat Yol Yapi, signed a contract with UNRA and received a commencement order on 30 March 2020 to tarmac the 92.2km road [Muyembe to Nakapiripirit], motorists thought hazardous potholes would be a thing of the past but torrential rains and the ensuing floods have kept sweeping away sections of this road putting the project behind schedule.
The road which starts at Muyembe at the end of the tarmac road from Mbale is meant to connect to the Nakapiripirit-Moroto road which is already paved.
Eng. Samuel Muhoozi, the director Roads and Bridges development at UNRA while addressing the contractor, representatives from the Turkish embassy and stakeholders 17 August at the construction site consented the project was behind schedule but said the contractor should be given time to complete it.
He explained that UNRA has also given notices [warnings] to the contractor on the slow progress and that so far two managerial meetings have been held on 16 March 2021 and 3 August 2021 with the contractor’s top management adding that the contractor was given notices to correct the non-compliances.
When PML Daily visited the road on 6 October, everything had changed and the pace of innovation had changed, there was improved communication and increased productivity and the road works were remarkable along the Muyembe-Nakapiripirit road.
Mr. Onur Makul, the construction Supervisor at Polat Yol Yapi site said the construction firm is now ranked the best in mobilizing equipment, human resource and in physical work for the last two months.
“And you know that after only two months, we have been able to mobilise equipment, human resources especially expatriates from Turkey and been able to do a lot of work along the roads. We have actually silenced those who thought we can’t work, we are on course,” said Mr. Makul.
He revealed that so far they have 14 excavators, 12 graders, 8 rollers, 6 wheel loaders, and 10 tractors scattered along the road and 42 heavy trucks for transporting Marrum and unwanted soils.
“We are determined to provide quality and value for the money we are going to be given by the government 0f Uganda,”
He explained that all the key considerations in having a good asphalt driveway like adequate foundation, proper drainage, appropriate materials and good construction have been provided.
Eng. Arafat Magdad Saad, the contractor manager said they have access to construction materials to form the structure of the road and that performance of road construction projects is the dependent variable whilst acquisition of materials is the independent variable.
“We are fully on ground, we have done bush clearing, excavations and embankments works along the road, pipe and box culverts, technical works like carrying out topographic surveys and re-establishment of the bench marks which have constantly been washed away by heavy rains and we are determined to give the government of Uganda and all stakeholders along this road value for their money,” said Eng. Saad.
A report by Polatyol seen by PML Daily that equipment mobilization to meet the Programme of works stands at 90% now and that when equipment for different activities are grouped and weighed, the effective mobilization has now gone higher.
Mr. Siraji Chebet, the LCIII chairman [Mayor] for Chepsukunya town council said “but there is much more about the road than just engineering and construction by Polat Yol Yapi- this sustainable road would connect people to jobs, education and health, link communities to income generating activities, expand economic growth, and decrease poverty.”
Mr. Chebet who has been negative about Turkish Company M/S Polat Yol Yapi is now so positive and says the work the has so far taken place along the road is more than the work they did in the past, “I am happy that there have not got equipment, they work day and night and seem determined to complete the road in time.”
Ms. Annet Nandudu, the LCV chairman for Bulambuli said the works on the all-important 92.2KM Muyembe-Nakapiripirit road are now at high gear with a lot of equipment and that apparently nobody can get stuck along the road like in the past., “the road is motor-able, bush clearing has taken place, bridges have been made, marrum has been put in some bad places and the trucks loaded with food harvested in farms in the region are already using it to access markets,” said Ms. Nandudu.
Eng. Arafat Magdad Saad according to Engineering News Record [ENR’s 2020], the Turkish Company M/S Polat Yol Yapi firm is among the top 250 International Contractors across the world.
“Engineering News record for 2020, M/S Polat Yol Yapi is ranked number 163 and there is no way we can let our company down by failing to do this work along Muyembe-Nakapiripirit road yet we have done big projects across the world,” said Eng. Magdad Saad.
Mr. Pius Bagaza, a local representative of the Turkish Company M/S Polat Yol Yapi explained that they have already done review of Topographic surveys, Soil materials [Hardness and Toughness] to establish the appropriateness, adequacy and that they have already established the camp and rock quarries as required by law and that work is going on.
“And in addition, all resources for the earthworks and concrete works have been provided; Asphalt and pavement resources are going to be ready within three months,” said Mr Baganza.
The UNRA’s media relations manager Mr. Allan Ssempebwa noted that the UNRA chose the road and not people’s comments, something that has changed the road works in a very short time.
“And so far so good, the construction firm should focus all its energies on the road construction and consider the reconstruction completion by 2023 which time would be used to reliably assess the structural strengthening needs of the existing road.” Said Mr. Ssempebwa.
About the 92Km Muyembe-Nakapiripirit Road
The construction works is funded through a loan from the Islamic Development Bank to a tune of sh399.9bn that is supposed to have kicked off in 2020 and are expected to take three years up to 30 March, 2023.
A Turkish construction firm, Polat Yol Yapi, signed a contract with the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) in November 2019 to tarmac the 92.2km route of Muyembe to Nakapiripirit.
The company has already been advanced Shs 60 billion to kick start the works.
The road will go through the districts of Muyembe, Kween and Nakapiripirit before connecting to Moroto-Nakapiripirit tarmac road at Nakapiripirit, this will make Karamoja sub-region to be accessed by Tarmac.