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New Nile Bridge
Japan has agreed to by and large finance the dual carriage new bridge development which, when ready, will provide a safer and faster way to cross the river compared to the present dual lane, slow go road across the ageing Owens Falls Dam. The new bridge, standing on completion some 80 meters tall over the river with a span of over 500 metres, is said to cost in the region of 120 million US Dollars. JICA has already funded 100 million US Dollars while the Ugandan government will have to co-finance the balance of the project cost, in particular the compensation payment for compulsory land acquisition along the access routes on both sides of the river to the new bridge to create a connection to the main highway to Kampala.
The old dam, and in particular the road across it, will then undergo major repair works to allow for a redundant road link, something which government failed to create when letting the downstream Bujagali power plant be constructed without demanding that a public road must lead across the dam.
The new bridge will further improve the Ugandan portion of the Northern road transport corridor which links the Kenyan port city of Mombasa, via Nairobi to the Ugandan border, and from there, either the Malaba or Busia crossings, to Kampala and on to South Sudan, Eastern Congo, Rwanda and Burundi. Most of the cargo traffic from Mombasa to Uganda and beyond to the hinterland countries, is transported by road at present, something the planned new standard gauge railway is hoped to fundamentally change when ready in 2018, making good road and bridge infrastructure vital for the economic development of the region.
By Atta Media Contact Dr Wolfgang H. Thome