Uganda opens iconic bridge across River Nile

Thursday October 18 2018

Source of the Nile Bridge

The newly commissioned 525-metre long Source of the Nile Bridge in Jinja, Uganda. PHOTO | PPU 

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Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni officially launched a 525-metre long bridge, dubbed The Source of the Nile Bridge, Wednesday in the southern town of Jinja.

The $112 million cable-stayed bridge was funded by a loan from the Japanese International Cooperation Agency.

Uganda President Yoweri Museveni

Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni cuts the ribbon during the commissioning of the 525-metre long Source of the Nile Bridge in Jinja on October 17, 2018. PHOTO | MORGAN MBABAZI | NMG

Mr Masahisa Sato, the State Foreign Affairs Minister of Japan, was also present at the ceremony.

Jinja thoroughfare that the bridge connects is a busy import-export route for Uganda through Kenya and, as such, provides the economic lifeline for the landlocked country.

The old Nalubaale bridge. It will now be used

The old Nalubaale bridge. It will now be used by motorcyclists after commissioning of the Source of the Nile Bridge. PHOTO | MORGAN MBABAZI | NMG

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Some 800 employees, almost nine out of every 10 being Ugandans, built the infrastructure over four years.

Zenitaka Corporation and Hyundai Engineering and Construction Company from Japan and South Korea, respectively, built the bridge.

It is the second of its kind in East Africa after Tanzania’s 680 metre-long Kigamboni Bridge, which was commissioned a fortnight ago.

Samuel Muhoozi, the Director of Roads and Bridges at Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA), said the bridge could become a major tourist attraction.

The Source of the Nile Bridge

Jinja residents walk on the newly-commissioned 525-metre long The Source of the Nile Bridge on October 17, 2018. PHOTO | MORGAN MBABAZI | NMG

“One of the aims of constructing this bridge was enhancing tourism with the addition of this iconic signature bridge in this picturesque location," he was quoted by local media as saying.

The signature beauty of the gigantic concrete and steel structure is 72 harp-like white cables connecting the bridge deck to two 69-metre tall inverted-Y pylon towers.

Source of the Nile bridge

The Japanese-funded $112 million 525-metre long Source of the Nile. PHOTO | MORGAN MBABAZI | NMG

The bridge is expected to have a life span of 120 years.

- Reporting by BBC and Daily Monitor