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Construction of new Nile Bridge starts January 2014

By Vision Reporter

Added 26th November 2013 01:01 PM

Come January 2017, Uganda will boast of the first cable-stayed bridge.

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Come January 2017, Uganda will boast of the first cable-stayed bridge.

By Joel Ogwang                                                                            

COME January 2017, Uganda will boast of the first cable-stayed bridge, and one of the biggest and deluxe bridge projects in East and Central Africa. And, at completion, the 525m-long iconic new Nile Bridge, with a life-span of 100-years, will consume the longest single-plane cable configuration in Africa and will go a long way in boosting Uganda’s trade and tourism potentials.
“The new Nile Bridge will consume stay-cables equal to three times the driving distance between Kampala and Mombasa or twice the distance between Kampala and Dar-es-Salaam via Nairobi, almost surrounding Lake Victoria,” said works state minister, Eng. John Byabagambi. 
Conceived after Byabagambi’s plea over the continued deterioration of the old Nalubaale Bridge that would de-link Uganda to the outside world if it collpased in 2005, the new 22.9m-wide state-of-the-art bridge will also comprise a seven-metre wide dual carriageway with pedestrian walkways of 2.25m on both sides, central span of 290m, end spans of 135m and 200m complete with night lighting facilities.
The realisation of the picturesque bridge will come in four-years’ preceding the launch of its construction in January 2014, following the signing of a contract between the Uganda government and the contractor.
Representing the government, Kimeze Ssebbugga, the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) acting executive director and Hirofumi Kunitani, the Zenitaka Corporation deputy general manager in-charge of international business at the works and transport ministry head offices in Kampala on Monday. 
Present, among others, were Junzo Fugita, the new Japanese envoy, Yasutaka Honda, the Zenitaka general manager, transport state minister, Stephen Chebrot and Eng. David Luyimbazi, the UNRA director of planning. 
Construction of the bridge is funded off a $130m joint-venture where the Japanese Government through its aid arm, JICA, contributed $100m while the Government of Uganda funded $30m, including land acquisition and compensation.
UNRA signed a $14.5m consultancy contract with a joint-venture led by Ms Oriental Consultants, in June 2013.
“This is the first simple loan we have got from Japan and its conditions are almost interest- free at 0.01%, making it the best loan the government has ever got,” said Byabagambi.
At completion, the new bridge will complement the old Owen Falls Dam (Nalubaale) bridge commissioned in 1954 and, so far, the only northern corridor bridge linking Uganda to Kenya via Busia and Malaba.
Kimeze said 52 Project Affected Persons (PAPs) have been paid sh16.1b to clear the right of way for the construction of the new Nile Bridge.
“The old Nalubale Bridge will continue to be used until completion of the new crossing in December 2017 as closing it would jolt the economic activities in Uganda and separate the south-eastern part of the country from the north-eastern regions,” said Kimeze.
“To control traffic load, the contractor will install a digital health monitoring system which will monitor the load of the traffic on the bridge, stresses and strains in the cable and will communicate the distresses which will signal maintenance requirements.” 
Honda said Zenitaka would deliver quality work “with great honour and pleasure of undertaking such a big project”, adding; “Our target is to complete the bridge within four years with pride and dignity under a slogan of safety first, no accident and minimum impact on the environment.”
Fugita noted that the historical bridge was a major step to improving Uganda’s transport sector. “This time, it will be a show of Japanese and Korean technology. We hope it serves Uganda for a long time to come.”

Sh343b new Nile Bridge contract signed, construction starts January 2014

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