Singida — THE heavy rains that are currently pounding Singida Region have already caused costly damage.
They have brought down a bridge that is a key link on the Mwanza Highway, rendering the road impassable. A Chinese national who made a bold attempt to cross the river after the bridge had gone down was swept away by flood waters to his death.
Motor vehicles travelling northward to Mwanza and those heading for Dodoma, Morogoro and Dar es Salaam are stranded. The incessant rains, most of which came down on New Year's Day, damaged Mnung'una Bridge at Msisi about 25 kilometres away from the municipality of Singida on Singida-Mwanza Highway.
The collapsed bridge has also brought to a halt all heavy and light duty trucks taking provisions, imports and other needs to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, RwandaLeonard) Uganda. More than 300 motor vehicles remain stranded in the area.
Interviewed truck drivers, who are stranded in the area, say they have information that Tanroads engineers would come to work on the bride. They also allege that the quality of the broken bridge was substandard because old culverts had been used in its construction.
The District Commissioner for Singida, Queen Mlozi, said that regional authorities had opened Singida-Ndago-Misigiri Road as an alternative route for the stranded drivers. Meanwhile, efforts to repair the collapsed bridge will be underway soon, the DC said.
Singida Regional Tanroads Manager Yustaki Kangole said that temporary measures were being taken to enable the stranded motor vehicles to cross the river by laying stones and other construction material on top of the collapsed bridge. According to Eng Kangolle, the Singida -Iguguno Highway portion was constructed by a Chinese firm, CHICO and handed over to the government in 2008.
In another development, the Mkalama District Commissioner, Mr Edward Ole Lenga, told reporters here that one unidentified Chinese national died when the car he was driving was swept away by the river at Gumanga Village.