A section of Ugandans have vented their anger after pictures of workmen ‘repairing’ the Jinja Bridge emerged Sunday.
The bridge, commissioned last October by President Museveni is the longest across any river in East Africa and cost Shs450 million.
But barely four months after it was opened to the public, it has started falling apart which has prompted Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) to carry out some repair works.
This after UNRA publicist Allan Ssempeebwa last year and on Sunday said the cracks that had emerged were part of the ongoing tests on the new bridge, which is expected to have a life span of 120 years.
Another statement attributed UNRA released Sunday informed the public that the ‘contractor on the Source of the Nile Bridge in Jinja was conducting several tests to form a base line data for the Bridge Structural Health monitoring.’
‘We also added that the wearing course seen and referred to as ‘bumpy’ or cracked by a section of the public is a non structural attachment and therefore not a defect on the bridge,’ the statement says, adding that it will be replaced with permanent asphalt as soon as investigation on structural behaviour is concluded and baseline data is formed.
However, travellers are not happy that the 500 meter bridge which was constructed using a loan from Japan, was ‘falling apart’ saying it has become a death trap.
Zikusoka Ibrahim told Watchdog Uganda that in more serious countries, everyone involved would be in jail.
“I cannot imagine what would become of the minister in charge of works in say, Rwanda or Tanzania for such shoddy work. But here, they will probably ask for more money to fix what they would have completed,” Zikusoka said.
Another frequent traveller to Jinja Maimuna Namaganda said she saw the cracks even before the bridge was commissioned.
“When I told my colleagues, they laughed at me but I doubt it will last the projected 120 years,” she said.
The ongoing repair exercise shall not interrupt the flow of traffic on the bridge, according to UNRA.