17 September 2009

Uganda: New Sh200 Billion Nile Bridge for 2012

Kampala — CONSTRUCTION of a new bridge across River Nile in Jinja is to start in 2012, a draft report on the project's feasibility study showed.

Works on the $100m (about sh200b) project will last three-and-a-half years and end in the first quarter of 2016, according to the study done by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

The project will be supervised by the works and transport ministry through the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA).

Dan Alinange, the UNRA spokesperson, said completion of the bridge would be a milestone in Uganda's economic growth through cross-border trade.

"We will build a bridge that everyone will be proud of.

"It will also be a tourist attraction because of its impressive architectural design," he said.

The existing Nalubale Bridge runs from Nalufenya round-about to the Nile Breweries factory on the Jinja-Kampala highway.

However, the new bridge will join the highway from Nalufenya roundabout through the Nyanza Textile factory, said Isamu Gunji, the JICA team leader.

"We wanted the bridge to pass through the southern part of Nile Breweries, but we learnt that the firm had expansion plans," he said.

A cable-stayed bridge with an inverted Y-shape pylon and single plane stay-cable has been recommended by the JICA study team.

During the project's third public consultative meeting at Ridar Hotel in Mukono, concerns were raised on the period the Government would take to compensate the people that will be affected by the project.

Okiror Iporotum, the Jinja chief executive officer, expressed worry about the delay in the compensation exercise.

He noted that although the Government did a survey and valuation assessment for the proposed Kisumu-Kampala oil pipeline project, it had not yet compensated people whose properties would be destroyed.

"How different is the bridge project? People are becoming jittery especially when their buildings are affected," he said in an earlier report.

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