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Urgent Repairs Needed For Karuma Bridge, Speaker Among Pressures UNRA

Urgent Repairs Needed For Karuma Bridge, Speaker Among Pressures UNRA

The Speaker of Parliament, Anita Among, has called upon the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) to expedite the repair works on Karuma Bridge in order to alleviate traffic congestion and ensure a smooth flow of vehicles.

UNRA recently announced the closure of Karuma Bridge to heavy traffic for a period of three months, starting from today, to address structural defects that have been identified. During this time, access to the bridge will be limited to passenger vehicles carrying up to 28 individuals.

Chairing Monday’s plenary, Speaker Among emphasized the urgency of the repairs, acknowledging the potential implications of traffic disruptions, delays, and associated costs. She urged UNRA to prioritize the restoration of the bridge and expedite the repair process.

UNRA attributed the structural defects to the continuous exposure of the bridge to heavy traffic over time. The agency also warned that the deterioration would accelerate if not addressed promptly.

However, Erute South MP Jonathan Odur pointed out that the current state of the bridge could have been prevented if the government had acted upon earlier warnings from experts regarding the impact of the Karuma dam on the bridge.

Odur stressed the importance of conducting feasibility studies to assess the potential impact of such projects on existing infrastructure.

The bridge has caused a lot of traffic jam

A cabinet meeting held on Monday was expected to make consequential decisions regarding the fate of the 61-year-old bridge and the resulting travel chaos caused by its closure.

In the meantime, lorries, trailers, and buses traveling to and from northern Uganda, West Nile, DR Congo, and South Sudan have been rerouted through Murchison Falls National Park.

The closure of the bridge has already caused significant traffic congestion, with commuters experiencing long queues on both ends.

Furthermore, the Uganda Wildlife Authority has stated that it will not waive the park entrance fee for light vehicles, posing an additional financial burden on taxis and other travelers.

The urgency of the situation necessitates swift action from UNRA and the government to address the structural defects and minimize the impact of the closure on commuters and businesses.

Stakeholders are hopeful that the repairs will be expedited, allowing for the timely reopening of Karuma Bridge and the restoration of regular traffic flow.

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