The South Sudan government has inaugurated the 192km-long Juba-Nimule highway, which connects the country’s capital Juba with Nimule on the Ugandan border.

The $225m highway project is expected to improve the South Sudan’s trade with East Africa, reported Voice of America?.

Funded by the United States Agency for International Development, the stretch starts from Nimule and meets Kampala, the Ugandan capital, and then runs through Kenya to the port of Mombasa.

South Sudan’s largest infrastructure project is expected to facilitate trade with Uganda and Kenya faster and cheaper as it imports fuel, goods and produce from these two countries.

Meanwhile, the US announced that it will help fund road maintenance in 2013.

Travellers and traders coming to and from Uganda have faced several commuting problems, such as long driving hours, but with the completion of the new highway, the travel time between Juba and Nimule is estimated to come down from eight hours to three.

Construction of the road began in May 2009 and was conducted in phases, the first of which involved building seven new bridges at multiple locations along the route and was completed in August 2009.

An eighth bridge, at the border of South Sudan and Uganda, was built in 2011.

In February 2011, South Sudan announced that it was commencing tarmacking work, which it expected to finish by February 2012.

Sudanese company Rhino Stars Suppliers and Construction was then awarded a subcontract to repair the seven bridges, and Bright Stars, a local contractor, was appointed to grade and maintain a stretch of the road to ensure an uninterrupted flow of traffic between Juba and Nimule.