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Beneath the Karuma bridge

By Titus Kakembo

Added 11th March 2019 12:02 PM

What caught my eyes was the nine kilometre tunnel that is large enough to contain a train wagon.

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Beautiful scenery at Karuma (Photo by Titus Kakembo)

What caught my eyes was the nine kilometre tunnel that is large enough to contain a train wagon.

The scenery of Karuma Bridge that was constructed in 1963 is any photographer’s dream come true.

This is made better by the sound of the water slapping the rocks chorusing with the tweeting birds and whispering leaves as the wind blows. 

On guard of this beauty are the self- habituated baboons grabbing bananas, bottles and mobile phones from unsuspecting motorists.

But that is a story for another day. This time round I had a chance to burrow some of the 27km tunnels at the bottom of Karuma where Chinese and their Uganda counterparts work 24/7 to fix the six turbines due to generate hydroelectric power.

 
 orries ferry the rock from the bottom to the top hoto by itus akembo     Lorries ferry rocks from the bottom to the top. (Photo by Titus Kakembo )

 

What caught my eyes was the nine kilometre tunnel that is large enough to contain a train wagon.

“It would be pitch dark if it was not for the generator powered light,” revealed Mark Muhwezi, the ICT employee turned guide. “The pipes you see there are transmitting oxygen otherwise there would be none!”

As if that was not enough to shock an ordinary mortal he said the rock broken and ferried out is enough to fill up two fields that are as big as Nambole Stadium.

This revelation makes me gasp for breath and treasure every tick second in the bowels of the earth. The turbines that are in advanced degrees of completion look like aeroplane engines with propellers and numerous wires.

The acting Synohydro Corporation project manager, Li Ji says every ticking second counts on the site as they endeavour to beat the deadline.

“There is going to be an underground power house,” revealed Li Ji.  “That is what will receive water to propel the turbines. The force will come from  a 100 meters falls being created. This is the first of its kind on the African continent. There are flood control gates in place.”

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