Jinja — The Uganda National Roads Authority (Unra) has denied that more defects have developed on the Shs390b new Source of Nile Bridge in Jinja District and said the ongoing works are in respect of replacing the old temporary layer with a permanent one.
The repairs on the bridge which have entered day three have prompted the authorities to divert Jinja-bound traffic to the old Nalubaale Bridge to allow maintenance works.
The maintenance which kicked off on Monday is expected to take two months with Kampala bound traffic using the new Source of the Nile Bridge.
The Unra public relations officer, Mr Mark Ssali, said yesterday that engineers are removing the old asphalt material which failed to be compatible with water proof materials.
"We are replacing the asphalts which failed and we started with the two lanes. We are going to wait for the waterproof materials to dry because we are replacing with new asphalts which are compatible with waterproof materials that had failed at first," Mr Ssali said.
He said the engineers promised to finish the work in about two months and the bridge will be ready for use by July 10.
"I want to assure the public that they should not be worried over the bridge. There is nothing such as cracks on the bridge as speculated, the structure is intact. It is just like removing an old carpet in your house and replacing it with a new one. That will cost no extra tax payer's money," Mr Ssali said.
The head of bridges and structures at Unra, Mr Lawrence Pario, recently said the last time they made repairs on the bridge, they only replaced the surface which was most affected, but this time, the contractor is removing the entire surface and putting something new.
"Structurally, there's no problem but we are simply replacing the entire road surface whose asphalt is rotting. Water proofing material and asphalt are flexible while concrete is rigid, so when you put a flexible material on a rigid material and there's no proper bonding, the flexible material moves," he explained.
According to contractors, they are replacing AC14 asphalt - which was not bonding well with water proofing material - with modified polymer asphalt.
The new Nile Bridge was commissioned last October with a lifespan of 120 years. It was constructed by Zenitaka Corporation and Hyundai Engineering and Construction Company from Japan and South Korea.