By Richard Ruati
October 29, 2010 (AWEIL) – The state Ministry of Physical Infrastructure in Northern Bahr el Ghazal and Aweil town residents say they are pleased to see the impact of a newly-constructed ten kilometer long road and drainage structures in Aweil town.
Murram – a type of gravel found in east Africa – produced at a local quarry yard was used to begin the road improvement. The entire network of roads in Aweil has been upgraded successfully using local resources.
Ministry officials say the completion will affect the town in many positive ways.
In the past, roads flooded often and became almost impassable. But today, with the locally-constructed roads and drainage structures, residents and school children can travel with ease.
Now that the road is surfaced with gravel, the reduction of mud in the town is significant. Additionally, the local population has easier access to many essential services, including schools, health clinics and places of worship.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), through its Sudan Infrastructure Services Project, is implementing the project along with local labor-based contractor Geerdit & Daughters Co. Ltd.
As part of the project, the road in Aweil town has been widened between various junctions in town to provide safe passage of both cars and pedestrians. Carriageways have also been widened and graded.
Geerdit & Daughters Co. Ltd. General Manager, Garang, said the only work left on the road is not on the road surface itself.
The outstanding work includes landscaping, the creation of sidewalks, and the installation of culverts.
“What is left is real minor touch-up stuff,” he said “just the kind of things you typically see when a project is being finished.”
Work was set to end in August 2010 but was delayed because of flooding during the course of project implementation.
“We expect this road to have a lot of years of life,” said Angelo Deng Majok, a resident of Aweil town.
Much of Southern Sudan lacks road infrastructure and the skilled labor to build it. The aim of these projects is not just to produce roads and improve roads but also to create jobs and provide hands-on experience.
Work on the road generated in excess of 3,000 labor days with an average workforce of 40 laborers. This significantly improved individual livelihoods and the overall economy of the town.
For most of Sudan’s independence the south has experienced conflict. North-south civil wars from 1955-1973 and 1983-2005 prevented the region developing as fast as other regions of the country.
In January, after a six-year-long peace process, the south will vote to decide whether it wants to secede from the north.