Uganda National Road Authority yesterday confirmed that all components were being put into place to have construction on the new bridge across the Nile in Jinja commence by August next year.
Once construction has gone underway it will take up to four years to complete the works including the construction of several new access roads linked to the present main highway approach towards the Owen Falls dam, where traffic currently passes.
More than half of the property owners affected by the project have already been compensated, while negotiations with several others are in an advanced stage of reviewing values and relocation while a few owners have failed to respond to UNRA or could not be physically traced, leaving compulsory acquisition of those parcels of land as the only option.
Invitations to contractors for pre-qualification are due to go out through the media within the next two months it was also revealed, laying to ground work for formal tenders to be issued and a contractor to be selected.
The Government of Japan has agreed to fund the bridge and has only this week reiterated that their bilateral cooperation with Uganda would continue and strengthen in spite of the problems caused in Japan by the recent wave of earthquakes and the devastating tsunami which then hit parts of the coastline.
Once the new bridge is ready, expected by 2016 going by present schedules, the main traffic axis from the Kenyan port city of Mombasa into Uganda and beyond will be substantially strengthened, as the current works carried out at the Owen Falls dam bridge will further ensure that a viable second crossing will remain in place, where all traffic from Eastern Uganda moves into the central part of the country to the main highways to Western Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Eastern Congo and Southern Sudan.
Compiled by Jackie