BUSINESS

East African Corridor Route works kick off, to support trade in region

UNRA officials with Japanese diplomats at the ceremony to join the girders at the new Nile Bridge in Jinja on Friday: COURTESY PHOTOS

Rehabilitation works on the East African Corridor Route in Uganda on Friday kicked off with the joining of girders at the new Nile Bridge in Jinja

The East African Corridor Route starts from Mombasa through Malaba/Busia in eastern Uganda, and connects to Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan and Eastern Congo.

In Jinja, where the Northern Corridor crosses the River Nile, a ceremony to mark the joining of the girders on the new bridge was held, officiated over by Works minister Monica Azuba Ntege.

Ms Ntege said the bridge will support the ever increasing trade volumes between Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, DRC, Southern Sudan and Burundi.

She added that Uganda being a landlocked country still relies on its road network for the movement of over 90% of its goods and passenger traffic.

“A sound road transport infrastructure is therefore critical to achieving the national aspiration of a strong, private sector-led growth that contributes to economic development and poverty reduction,” she explained.

She lauded the government of Japan for it’s continued support to development in Uganda, explaining that the presence of Japanese Ambassador to Uganda, Mr Kazuaki Kameda, at the ceremony was a clear indicator of the success and effectiveness of the partnership that has been established between the governments of Uganda and Japan over the last 50 years.

Japanese ambassador to Uganda speaks at the function on Friday.

“The Government and the people of Uganda are very grateful for the support of the Japanese people and government. I want to once again thank the people of Japan for sacrificing their hard-earned money to support an infrastructure project of this magnitude,” Ms Azuba said.

The Works minister revealed that the bridge structure will be among the first of its scale and complexity in Africa, bearing an iconic presence at Uganda’s Gateway at Jinja.

“We know for sure, that this bridge will significantly contribute to the economic development of Uganda and hence poverty reduction,” Azuba noted.

At the same function, Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) executive director Allen Kagina said after the World Bank financed the Pre-investment Study for this New Bridge in 2005, a feasibility Study funded by JICA was undertaken from August 2008 to November 2009.

Ms Kagina explained that during the study,  a sensitivity analysis for the various combinations of bridge type was done, that led to the conclusion that the most feasible bridge type is a cable-stayed bridge which will best align at 500 m upstream of Nalubaale Dam with river width of 300m.

The New Nile Bridge is an iconic longest single plane cable configuration in the entire African Continent.

The 525m-long bridge has a central span of 290m, end spans of 135m and 100m on the east and west banks respectively.The overall width of the Bridge is 22.9m wide.

Kagina explained that the bridge has a dual carriageway 7.0m wide with a pedestrian walk way of 2.25m wide on both ends.

“For security at night, the Bridge will have lighting facilities,” she noted.

During execution of civil works to date, Kagina said the contractor maintained the highest standard of safety, environmental protection, site cleanliness and maintenance.

“The quality of water in the Nile River has been maintained to its natural state,” she added.

Old Nalubaale Bridge to stay under use

The UNRA boss also revealed that the Old Nalubaale Bridge will continue to be used until completion of the New Bridge in August 2018, when it will be closed to traffic as the New Nile Bridge will pass vehicles more safely and eight times faster.

UNRA has embarked on an ambitious programme to upgrade and construct new bridges on the National roads in medium and long term according to Ms Kagina.

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