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Chinese firm resumes construction of key road in South Sudan

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Chinese construction firm, Shandong Hi-Speed Group Company Ltd (SDHS), has resumed work on the Juba-Terekeka-Yirol-Rumbek road linking the Bahr El Ghazal region bordering Sudan.

Taban Deng Gai, vice president for the infrastructure cluster in the coalition government, said the road under construction will play a crucial role in promoting development as it eases access to the oil producing region of Unity State and seven states in the country.

“This road is also going to the oil fields and is also going to the only (fuel) refinery that we have in South Sudan, I believe coming next year Shandong will not be buying diesel for this road from Kenya or elsewhere, they will be bringing diesel for the work on this road from Bentiu refinery,” Deng told journalists while inspecting the road on Wednesday in the outskirts of Juba.

He said that the road will serve Lakes, Greater Unity, Western Bahr El Ghazal, Northern Bahr El Ghazal, Warrap states and other areas.

“This is my second visit to this place to see the activities of Shandong Company. We believe this is a blessing because this road serves two-thirds of the population of South Sudan. China is an important partner for South Sudan’s development, and we look forward to China’s continued support on the infrastructure development in this country.” he said.

He said the government aims to boost infrastructural development using oil resources as earlier approved by President Salva Kiir.

In March 2019, the Chinese construction firm was granted a contract by the South Sudanese government to start construction of major roads.

In May, the government halted work on the Juba-Terekeka-Yirol-Rumbek road after heavy flooding caused some damage to a few sections of the unpaved road.

After undertaking a review of the project lasting about three months, SDHS was granted permission to resume work.

Hua Ning, Chinese Ambassador to South Sudan said he appreciated the South Sudanese government’s trust for SDHS to resume work on the road.

“I am very happy to see that after three months of intensive, friendly, professional and honest consultation between Shandong and the review committee, they have reached consensus and agreement on the optimization of the design of the road which has made a very solid ground for the future work of this road project,” said Hua.

Hua said that the end of the rainy season will enable SDHS to mobilize resources to speed up work on the road project.

“As we know that the rainy season almost comes to an end and the dry season will start very soon, this is a favorable time for construction of roads and other infrastructure in South Sudan. After they (SDHS) optimize this design of the project, the company will be able to mobilize all its resources to move forward faster with the project.” Hua said.

“Over the years, China has been supporting the infrastructure development in South Sudan. We are happy to share our experiences with South Sudan in line with local conditions. With the joint efforts of all stakeholders, we will be able to build a high-quality road to peace, development and prosperity for South Sudan,” said Hua.

SDHS will install 11 modern standard bridges, 35 box culverts, 300 pipeline culverts, and 21 viaducts along the highway. 

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