NILE BRIDGE CONTRACT SIGNED
(Posted 27th November 2013)
The Ugandan government has finally signed the long awaited contracts with Japan’s Zenitaka Corporation and with Korea’s Hyundai Engineering and Construction Company for the new bridge over the River Nile in Jinja. Construction is now due to commence in early 2014 with a construction time of nearly 4 years anticipated before the new bridge can be opened in late 2017. Part of the road works have already commenced on both sides of the river but compensation for tenants on land which had to be acquired by the government took a while and cost a whopping 16+ billion Uganda Shillings until now, with more to come yet.
The cost of the bridge was given at approximately 350 billion Uganda Shillings and the new crossing will be a dual lane highway crossing, unlike the present bridge where oncoming traffic has made a speed limit of 20 KM/h necessary. The present bridge across the Owens Falls dam will undergo repairs and added maintenance to make sure that it remains safe and sound until the new bridge opens, after which the old bridge will according to information received from Uganda’s national roads authority offices only be used as a backup.
Transport experts have, considering the present road over the Owen Falls dam is the only direct link between the border with Kenya and the capital Kampala, questioned the wisdom of having only one road crossing, with some claiming the rush to get the Bujagali Falls project underway a few years ago caused this critical element to be neglected, when in fact Bujagali too could have been designed to have a main road cross the river there, letting an opportunity to create redundancy go to waste. Watch this space for regular and breaking news from Uganda, the Pearl of Africa.