Japanese and South Korean companies to construct 'iconic' bridge across Nile

Uganda bridge Nile source JinjaThe new bridge will be located close to the source of the Nile in Jinja. (Image source: Ina96/Wikimedia Commons)Zenitaka Corporation of Japan and Hyundai Engineering and Construction Company from South Korea have signed a contract with the Ugandan government to construct the New Nile Bridge across the Nile river at Jinja

The civil works on the project have been estimated to cost in the region of US$140mn to complete. Construction will take four years and when the project has been completed in 2018 it will be expected to boost the economic development of the region by improving transportation along the Northern Corridor.

The Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) acted on behalf of the government, while the Japanese and Korean ambassadors witnessed the contract signing in Kampala.

According to UNRA, the body in charge of roads in Uganda, "the NewNileBridge when complete will be the longest single-plane cable configuration in the entire African continent. The 525 metre-long bridge will comprise a dual carriageway, two-way, single-plane cable-stay bridge".

The roads body says the structure should constitute an "iconic signature bridge structure" and its picturesque features and strategic location near the source of the Nile will present tourist advantages to the benefit of local and national development.

"The NewNileBridge will consume stay cables equal to three times the driving distance between Kampala and Mombasa or thrice the distance between Kampala and Dar es Salaam via Nairobi," the UNRA noted.

The authority added that the bridge would feature lighting facilities at night and a digital health monitoring system that will monitor the load of traffic passing on the bridge, stresses and strains in the cable and will be able communicate distresses signalling maintenance requirements.

The construction of a second bridge across the Nile will seek to ease traffic on the currently dilapidated NalubaaleBridge, which was constructed in the 1940s and connects Uganda to the eastern part of the country and other countries including Kenya.

A World Bank report conducted in 2005 recommended that a new cable stay bridge be constructed on the alignment running between the existing highway at the Nalubaale dam and the railway bridge to supplement the current older bridge.

The Japanese government, through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and the Korean government will fund the project. JICA is currently funding or co-funding a number of road networks and projects in Uganda, including a flyover project in Kampala and the rehabilitation of roads in the north and east of the country.

Geoffrey Muleme

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