CONSTRUCTION of the new bridge on River Nile in Jinja will officially start in August 2012, works and transport minister Eng. John Nasasira has said.
The bridge, estimated to cost $135m, will replace the current one at Nalubaale Dam (formerly known as Owen Falls Dam) which has cracked.
Nasasira said the work would be completed within four years.
The Japanese government is providing $102m through the Japan’s Overseas Development Assistance Programme as a soft loan and Uganda will raise the remaining $33m, Nasasira added. Nasasira was yesterday afternoon meeting the Japanese Ambassador to Uganda, Keiichi Kato.
Kato has just completed his tenure of service in Uganda for over three years. Nasasira said the project tenders will be called before the end of this year.
“Nalubaale Bridge, completed in the 1954, has exceeded its lifespan. We need an urgent replacement because it is a main gateway for traders in the region,” Nasasira said.
According to the project design, the new bridge will be 525 metres long, with a dual lane and three span cables, making it the largest in the country.
Nasasira said the bridge, once completed, will boost trade between Uganda and its neighbours since it serves as the major trade link through eastern Uganda.
“A country like Uganda can only increase foreign direct investments through improving its general infrastructure,” Kato said.
For the last 25 years, Japan has supported projects in Uganda in road construction, improvement of traffic flow, improvement of trunk roads and resettlement of internally displaced persons.