The new Jinja Nile Bridge will be the second cable-stayed bridge in East Africa after Tanzania’s Kigamboni Bridge which was commissioned last year in April.
The entire Jinja Bridge is approximately 525 metres long, and has a design life span of 120 years.
It will also be fitted with, among other accompaniments, lighting facilities, a digital health monitoring system that will monitor the load of traffic, and stresses and strains in the cables.
According to the Uganda National Roads Authority, “the bridge has a two-way, single span of 290m and end spans of 135m and 100m on the east and west banks respectively. The new bridge will comprise a dual carriageway, Single-Plane Cable Stay Bridge, with an Inverted Y shape approximately 70-80m pylon.”
The Construction of the New Bridge is projected to cost US$130 million from a concessional loan received by the Government of Uganda from the Government of Japan through the technical arm of the Japanese International Co-operation Agency (JICA).
For the part of the deck already completed, suspension of the cables is already ongoing and can be seen from a far. The deck will be suspended in the air by the said cables. The total length of the cable is about 3,100 km.
The bridge will provide the second, and an alternative entry point to Kampala, from the east of the country. It will complement the Nalubaale Bridge, which was built in 1954.
“The ever-increasing trade volumes between Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan and DRC have only served to increase the wear and tear of both the dam and bridge structures and resulting from growing traffic volumes and excessive overloading,” said a release by the Ministry of Works and Transport.
Uganda hopes to use the construction of the second Nile Bridge to strengthen its transport capacity of the Northern Corridor and ensure traffic safety, the ministry says.
The new Nile Bridge design speed is 120KM per hour upgrading from the existing bridge design speed that provides for 20KM per hour.
The Northern Corridor is Uganda’s most important highway as it forms nearly 7% of the country’s road network and conveys close to 32% of its traffic. Statistics indicate the corridor’s transit/trans-shipment traffic is over 2.2 million tonnes/day, volumes which grow at the rate of 20% annually.
Uganda relies on the port of Mombasa in neighbouring Kenya for up to 80% of its exports and imports, and 95% of these pass through the Northern Corridor.
“The condition at the existing Naluubale Bridge has deteriorated and the narrowness of the lanes and other factors hinder the smooth, safe flow of traffic,” says JICA (Japanese International Cooperation Agency), which is financing up to 80% of the project.
“The volume traffic between the port of Mombasa and Kampala is predicted to increase in the future and the construction of the new bridge is a pressing task to ensure the smooth and safe flow of traffic.”
Analysts predict the new bridge will be critical in enhancing intra-regional trade among countries using the Northern Corridor such as DRC, Uganda, South Sudan, Burundi and Rwanda and will boost ongoing efforts to integrate the economies of these countries under the East African Community.