Construction works on the 11-kilometre Kisiro Bridge in Namutumba District are at 75 per cent completion, Excel Construction Company, the contractor, said at the weekend.
The works, which started in 2019 at a cost of Shs27 billion and funded by the government, is expected to end this year and boost businesses in the area, according to locals.
Mr Lamis Ngesi, a resident of Kisiro Village, said the bridge, once completed, will boost business in Bukedi Sub-region.
"This is going to be the easiest route connecting Namutumba to Bukedi, and with many crops in the area such as maize and groundnuts, graining mills will emerge in Kisiro, Bugobi Town Council, Bangu, Malanga, and Budaba in Butaleja District, hence offering ready market," Mr Ngesi said.
Mr Semu Malingha, a resident of Budaba Village in Butaleja District, said they look forward to businesses such as lodging facilities, bars and restaurants and fuel pumps, which he reckons will ease movement between Bukedi and Busoga sub-regions.
"It will also save on the time spent on the way while traveling, especially on water. We are extremely happy that we are no longer going to be disturbed by hippopotamus which used to kill people sailing from Namutumba to Butaleja," Mr Malingha said.
Mr John Owere, a resident of Bangu Trading Centre in Butaleja District, said a number of opportunities that will be tailored towards fight poverty will crop up in the sub-region.
"We (the locals) should start engaging in valuable projects besides agriculture, which will earn us money. Fishing has been going on in the swamp, but transporting it to market centres has been challenging," he said, adding that with a modern bridge, customers will buy fish at higher prices than before.
Mr Bernard Oundo, the chairperson of Bangu Village, said the bridge will improve the education sector because more schools will be built in the area.
"Many private developers have feared to construct schools in the area because of the transport challenge, but that perception is going to change. Security in Busoga and Bukedi sub-regions will also improve because a police post will be erected near the bridge," he said.
Mr Wilberforce Waisana, a resident of Kisiro Trading Centre, said prior to the construction of the bridge, travelers from Bulange, Bugobi and Namutumba would connect to Butaleja and Tororo via Budumba Bridge, which is quite expensive.
Many farmers, fishermen and business people are looking forward to the benefits of the bridge because of its strategic location.
"We have been paying Shs10,000 to sail from Kisiro to Butaleja," Ms Prossy Nabulumba, a tomato vendor in Kisiro Trading Centre, said.
Mr Yololim Nabongho, the Isabalangira (Prince) of Busiki Chiefdom, said the National Resistance Movement government has fulfilled their promise to construct the bridge but claims the quest for the project started during President Milton Obote's regime.
"This is a historical bridge for us and our children," he added.
Mr Yakub Kasoma, the Bulange Sub-county outgoing chairperson, hailed the good cooperation between the contractor and locals, saying it is part of the reasons the construction of the bridge has gone on smoothly.
He adds that the locals were urged not to vandalise or steal materials and equipment found on the site.