The new bridge to be constructed on River Nile in Jinja, eastern Uganda is expected to cost about $109million, Uganda’s works and transport minister John Nasasira has said.
He said supervision of the project will cost $9.0 million and civil works will cost $100million. Nasasira was speaking at the signing of a loan agreement between the Uganda and Japan where Japan extended a $100million loan.
The bridge is expected to serve as a major trade route connecting Uganda to the Kenyan port of Mombasa, Rwanda, Burundi, the DR Congo and other Central Africa countries. Uganda’s finance Minister Syda Bbumba who signed the agreement on behalf of the government said the repayment period for the loan will be 40 years at an interest rate of 0.01%.
“90% of Uganda’s trade imports and exports are transported via the northern corridor route which is also the primary economic route for Rwanda, Burundi, including eastern DR. Congo and Southern Sudan.
Due to old age and suspect structural condition, the reliability of the northern corridor route on the bridge is undetermined,” said Nasasira.
He said the ever increasing trade volumes between Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, DR. Congo, Southern Sudan and Burundi have only served to increase the wear and tear of the dam and bridge structures resulting from growing traffic volumes and overloading.
Nasasira added that the bridge would also serve as a tourist attraction. According to the project artistic impression, the new bridge will be 525metres long, with a dual lane and three span cables, making it the largest on the country.
The project is jointly funded by the Ugandan government and Japan. Speaking at the signing, Japanese ambassador Keiichi Kato said the project was a sign of an enduring partnership between Japan and Uganda. He said the bridge would strengthen Uganda’s relationship with its neighbors and improve regional trade.
Bumba said the project was a government initiative to address infrastructure deficiency in the country. Nasasira said tendering for construction will be undertaken between March 2011 and March 2012 while construction works is expected to start March 2012 and will take four years. The bridge will be commissioned in 2016.
The old bridge, commissioned in 1954, houses Uganda’s main source of hydro-electric power