2018: This Iconic Bridge Was Opened at the Source of the Nile River in Uganda

October 17, 2018

A cable-stayed bridge spanning the Nile was opened in the town of Njeru in the Republic of Uganda. Njeru is a suburb of the city of Jinja, which is located on the shores of Lake Victoria. Along with being Africa’s largest lake by area, Lake Victoria is also considered by many to be the source of one of the longest rivers in the world. The new bridge was therefore officially named the Source of the Nile Bridge. (The section of the river that between Lake Victoria in the Central Region of Uganda and Lake Albert in the country’s Western Region is widely known as the Victoria Nile.)

This structure is also called the New Jinja Bridge, and it was constructed as a replacement for the Nalubaale Bridge in that part of Uganda. The Nalubaale Bridge had been built in 1954. In 2013, the Uganda National Roads Authority awarded the contract for building a new bridge to both the Zenitaka Corporation in Japan and Hyundai Engineering and Construction Company in South Korea. This construction project was mostly financed by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), a government agency that provides funding assistance for developing countries and promotes international collaboration. Construction on the bridge was officially launched early in 2014 by President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda.

Nearly five years later, approximately 3,000 people attended the dedication ceremony for the bridge. Museveni officiated at these festivities, cutting a ribbon to open the bridge to traffic. Along with underscoring the economic and social benefits of the new bridge for the region, Museveni highlighted the fact that 90 percent of the people who helped build the bridge were Ugandan.

Several dignitaries from Japan were also on hand for the bridge’s opening. They included Masahisa Sato, state minister for foreign affairs of Japan; H.E. Kazuaki Kameda, Japanese ambassador to Uganda; and Yutaka Fukase, chief representative of JICA’s office on Uganda. In his own remarks, Sato emphasized the expectations that the bridge would help facilitate the efficient transport of goods within not only within Uganda but also to and from such other East African countries as the Republic of South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Republic of Rwanda. To further commemorate the debut of the New Jinja Bridge, JICA’s Uganda office sponsored a contest in which children were encouraged to paint pictures centered around the theme “Your Dream Bridge.”

The New Jinja Bridge serves both vehicular and pedestrian traffic, while the Nalubaale Bridge has remained open for use by bicyclists and motorcyclists. The New Jinja Bridge carries a trunk road that connects Jinja and other local communities with Kampala (Uganda’s capital city), which is likewise in the Central Region; and the town of Malaba in the Eastern Region of the country. Plans are under development for that route to eventually become part of a highway that will be called the Kampala-Jinja Expressway. Measuring 1,722 feet (525 meters) in length, the New Jinja Bridge also has the distinction of being the longest bridge in Uganda and the fifth-longest cable-stayed bridge in all of Africa.

For more information on the Source of the Nile Bridge (New Jinja Bridge), please check out https://www.monitor.co.ug/SpecialReports/New-era-Uganda-unveils-high-tech-iconic-bridge-/688342-4809760-15rr8s4/index.html and https://www.busiweek.com/president-museveni-commissions-125-million-new-nile-bridge/.

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