THE Government plans to build a new bridge over the River Nile at Jinja because the existing one has seriously deteriorated.
The new bridge, for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians, will be constructed between the Nalubaale Dam (formerly Owen Falls) and the railway bridge, according to the chief engineer of the Ministry of Works, Samson Bagonza.
The Japanese Government has in principle agreed to support the construction, he added.
In the meantime, the Government will undertake emergence repairs on the existing Nalubaale Bridge.
â€œWe cannot fully rehabilitate the existing bridge without diverting the traffic. And we cannot divert the traffic because there is no alternative bridge,â€ Bagonza clarified.
The bridge, across the Nalubaale Dam, is a major crossing on the Northern corridor route that links Uganda and its central African neighbours to the Indian Ocean coast.
â€œThe bridgeâ€™s structural components have suffered serious deterioration as a result of environmental and traffic loads,â€ said the permanent secretary in the Ministry of works, Charles Muganzi.
Emergency repairs, he explained, would include underwater piers, joints and edge supports to the deck slabs, drainage, and the asphalt would be replaced.
The dam and the bridge were built in the early 1950s. Queen Elizabeth II officially opened it during her visit to Uganda in 1954.
The availability of hydro-electric power from the dam spurred industrial development in Jinja and the neighbouring areas.
Govt to build new bridge over Nile