4 August 2017

Uganda: Jinja Bridge 40 Percent Complete

The new Jinja bridge construction is now 40 percent complete, the Japanese contractors, Zenitaka and Hyundai, have said.

The 525-metre cable bridge is the first of its kind in the country and will offer an alternative connection between Kampala and eastern Uganda along the planned Kampala-Jinja Expressway route.

The only connection present is that along the Owen falls dam, constructed by the British colonial government in 1954.

The new bridge is expected to be complete by June 2018 and has a projected lifespan of 120 years. The bridge is 22.9 metres wide with provisions for walkways and carriageways.

Construction of the bridge is being fully financed with a Shs 391 billion loan from the government of Japan. Speaking today in Jinja during a routine inspection, Japanese ambassador to Uganda Kazuaki Kameda said the bridge is a symbol of his county's niche for quality infrastructure in Uganda.

"We would like to contribute to Uganda's economic development through quality infrastructure like this," the ambassador said.

"I will continue to be vigilant on the progress of the projects sponsored by Japan."

Kameda was accompanied by Works and Transport minister Monica Ntege Azuba and Allen Kagina, the Uganda National Roads Authority executive director.

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Azuba used the opportunity to caution contractors working on government projects to put strict quality measures on local suppliers.

"On all our projects, we want to try (as much as possible) to have local suppliers on board but most of them produce substandard products. So, if the contractors insist that these suppliers provide only quality products, it will help the local industries grow," Azuba said.

The minister was reacting to a story narrated by the project manager, Lawrence Pario, whereby a steel manufacturing company which he refused to disclose lodged a complaint with the president after being denied a deal to supply steel towards the bridge construction.

"They told the president that we were refusing to support local industries," Pario told a laughing boardroom.

He said they stood their ground when the president intervened and only recently, allowed supplies from the said company after they were satisfied by the improved quality of their product.

Azuba said such strictness on government projects will push companies to improve the quality of their products and also ensure quality infrastructural projects.

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