In 2011, government through the Uganda National Roads Authority awarded a 90 billion shillings project to Dott Services to rehabilitate and widen the 140-kilometre Soroti-Mbale-Tororo road. However, over a year later, there is hardly any substantial progress on the road construction.
Travelers using the Soroti-Mbale road have expressed dissatisfaction with the current work being done by Dott Services Construction Company with others calling for the substitution of the contractor.
In 2011, government through the Uganda National Roads Authority awarded a 90 billion shillings project to Dott Services to rehabilitate and widen the 140 kilometre Soroti-Mbale-Tororo road. However, over a year later, there is hardly any substantial progress on the road construction.
Instead, the condition of the road has continued to deteriorate with numerous potholes, depressions, deep edge breaks and eroded shoulders affecting traffic movements and resulting in high vehicle operating costs, increased travel time and high accident cases besides subjecting the travelers to an uncomfortable experience while using the road.
Previously, a journey between Soroti and Mbale used to last just over an hour but now the same distance requires at least three hours, more than double the time it used to take as drivers are forced to slow down and negotiate with the poor state of the road.
Beatrice Acio, a frequent traveler along the road, said they are subjected to traumatizing experience by the pothole-riddled state of the road. She said the poor state of the road has made it easy for the drivers to always change transport fares at will. Acio asked government to come to the rescue of the road users and improve the road.
Like the passengers, drivers and vehicle owners are also bitter about the road condition. Lawrence Osulo is a trader in Soroti town and owns a taxi that transports travelers along the route. He explains that his profit margin is most times eaten up by maintenance cost occasioned by the road condition.
Sam Okello, a driver shares a similar experience. Okello explains that he spends more time in the garage than he does on the road. Okello says they are sometimes forced to increase the transport cost to match the maintenance costs. Okello is appealing to government to chase away the contractors for those who can do a better job faster.
Steven Sikuku, the UNRA Maintenance and Station engineer in Soroti, declined to comment on the road works preferring his supervisors. Meanwhile, it was not possible to get a comment from Dott Services but Dan Alinange, the UNRA spokesperson said they apologize for the slow and poor work on the road but explained that they are putting pressure on the contractor to mobilize machinery and speed up the work.
He said the work on the road stalled because of the need to review the design to include the removal of the entire old tarmac so as to do a complete overhaul of the road construction. He said an increase in traffic along the road prompted the change in the plan. Alinange said the road construction work is expected to be complete by end of 2013, a year after the previous schedule.
Alinange is optimistic that the road would bring remarkable improvement of the economic activity and welfare of the people along the route in terms of agricultural production, travel time and saving on vehicle operating costs once the road is complete.
The Soroti-Mbale road was constructed in the late 1960s and is part of the road network connecting Kampala to Northern Uganda, North – Western Uganda, Southern Sudan and the Eastern parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo. According to UNRA, the stretch is currently the worst road section on their list of the paved road network.
The completion of the Soroti-Mbale-Tororo road would be an addition to the 123 kilometre Soroti-Lira road whose completion in 2010 helped to improve traffic flow to Northern Uganda, Southern Sudan and Eastern Congo.
The road sector accounts for about 97% of the freight cargo in Uganda and government has increased budget allocation to the roads sector from 1,291 to 1,651 billion in the current financial year.
dott services construction company
poor road network