Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) will soon purchase four portable bridges for emergency situations.
According to UNRA Six billion shillings has been set aside to purchase the four metallic portable bridges within the next nine months. They are metallic, 40-meter-long portable bridges that are adjustable and relocated to areas with emergencies.
Eng. Lawrence Pario, Head of Structures and Bridges at UNRA says that the heavy rains witnessed in May and June 2020, destroyed roads and bridges, thereby presenting a problem of impassable roads and broken bridges. This required emergency response which was not readily available, apart from construction of roads and bridges which takes some time. This has forced UNRA to order for the purchase of four portable bridges to be stationed at the emergency center in Mpigi ready for deployment.
Eng. Pario, says three of the portable bridges will be mobile portable bailey bridges of 40m span and one scissor bridge for emergency response. With the metallic portable, adjustable bridges in place, the problem of impassable roads, washed away bridges in Uganda can be averted within a period of 8-12 hours depending on where the problem has occurred.
Several areas in Uganda have been hard hit by heavy rains that pounded Kaboong, Amuru, Kasese, Nwoya, Buduuda, Buliisa, Buyende, Luuka, Ntoroko, Mpondwe, Okollo, Arua and Pakwach districts.
Abdul Karim Byantalo, a cargo driver who transports cargo to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and South Sudan says it is a welcome idea to buy portable bridges by the government of Uganda.He says in May 2020 they had to wait for weeks before the Mpondwe bridge that was washed away could be replaced. In due course some of the merchandise got damaged and make them incur losses.
Goeffrey Wasswa, who transports cargo to Democratic Republic of Congo via Arua in the west Nile region he says the roads are impassable and bridges are covered during rainy seasons. As a result, several bridges were destroyed in various parts of Uganda.
The damaged bridges include Mpondwe at the border with DRC at Kasese, Nsongi Bridges in Western Uganda, Odroo, Ayugi, Wariki, Ceri, Adidi, Opio in West Nile, Aji and Ora Bridges in Okollo District, Enyau Bridge in Arua, Dungluwa in Kasese, Kagandi (Kaku) and Awoo in Amuru and Nariamabune Kaboong
The ongoing heavy rains have rendered roads impassable, bridges washed away and ferries operating at Panyimur and Obongi are grounded due to the increasing floods.