South Sudan has suspended construction of the Juba-Rumbek highway due quality issues, Taban Deng, the vice president in charge of Infrastructure has announced.
Mr Deng said that the Juba-Rumbek highway has been put on hold after a heavy downpour last month swept away some sections of the road. He however assured the public that construction will resume in due course.
The damage happened on two locations including one overflowing section located a kilometre away from the military headquarters, Bilpam.
Those who visited the site say the layers of gravel under the asphalt are weak and easily washed off by water.
“We have just suspended construction of the highway and we intend to use this opportunity review the design of the road. So I call on the company to build their capacity within the suspension period to ensure quality standard of the road,” he told reporters on site.
Deng is proposing the highway to be dual carriage a move that will double the current cost of construction.
“It is a single carriageway we shall discuss also with the technical people and the President whether we make this a double carriageway or we continue with the current design.”
Shandong Hi-speed the contractor of the project says the damages on the road were unforeseen.
It 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 Project Manager for Juba–Rumbek highway, Zuu Yang said the unexpected flood exceeded earlier hydrological data.
“We are going to work closely with the Ministry of Roads and Bridges to make sure that the design is improved and to make sure that the road ultimately constructed will be qualified and strong enough,” said Mr. Yang.
The 392km Juba–Rumbek highway project that connects Bahr El Ghazal Region to Uganda through Equatoria region will be constructed over a period of three years.