UGANDA (eTN) – Information was given last week by the Uganda Ministry of Works and Transport, that the new bridge across the Nile in Jinja, worth US$109 million and largely financed by the government of Japan, is expected to be ready by 2016. Construction start was given as 2012, with the time until then needed to finalize the purchase and compensation for land and advertise for international tenders before selecting a main contractor.
The new bridge is expected to ease the flow of traffic across the Nile, presently the only lifeline connecting the east of the country to the central part of Uganda and crucially important as an import and export axis between the Indian Ocean port of Mombasa and the hinterland countries of Rwanda, Burundi, Eastern Congo, Southern Sudan, and often even Western Tanzania, and, of course, Uganda itself.
A railway bridge near the old bridge across the Owens Falls hydroelectric dam is not capable of being converted for road traffic and is also expected to be upgraded when the rehabilitation of the main railway and conversion into the internationally accepted standard gauge goes underway.
The old bridge, once the new one is operational, will be rehabilitated and used as a standby facility though not open for general traffic at that time.