Jinja, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The business community in Jinja is optimistic that the new cable-stayed bridge at the Source of the Nile will boost tourism and improve the public image of the former industrial hub.
The bridge which was funded by a loan from Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will be officially commissioned on Wednesday by President Yoweri Museveni, becoming the second gateway to the Eastern part of Uganda after the Owen Falls Bridge which has exceeded its lifespan.
Constructed by Zenitaka Corporation Company, the outstanding architectural structure stands eight meters high and 525 meters long, making it the longest bridge across a river in East Africa.
Bill Babalanda, a taxi operator who now uses the old Owen Falls Dam Bridge to cross from Njeru to Jinja, says that the new bridge will most likely ease traffic flow once opened. Hotel Owner Yojesh Patel says that the bridge stands out in beauty and magnificence creating a totally different skyline in Jinja which will draw more visitors and tourists to the area.
Another resident Reagan Ndahura is optimistic that the bridge will ease trade within Uganda and across the bridge to neighboring countries.
Tomorrow @KagutaMuseveni is expected to commission Uganda’s first cable stayed bridge. Construction is now done. Time to enjoy our taxes.#UNRAworks #UNRAat10 @UNRA_UG @assempebwa @AHMEDAYUB1 pic.twitter.com/TJLpGuBr4C
— Sarah Kyobe N. (@kyobesarah) October 16, 2018
Their statements come barely a day after the Uganda National Roads Authority completed the color illumination test on the new bridge ahead of its official Commissioning. According to UNRA, the structure was built with the ability to switch between all colors. On the day of its commissioning, it will be lit in Black, Yellow and Red; the colors of the National Flag.
The project’s resident engineer, Morris Odoch says that the lights are aimed at attracting tourists within the districts of Jinja and Buikwe.