Uganda to build first cable-stayed bridge in EA

Friday October 29 2010

By Pauline Kairu


A monumental cable-stayed bridge with a length of 525 metres will replace the 56-year-old one at the Owen Falls Dam over the River Nile in Jinja, officials have said. It will be the first cable-stayed traffic bridge constructed in the region.

A cable-stayed bridge consists of one or more columns, normally referred to as pylons, with cables supporting the bridge deck. The Bridges Engineer at Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA), Mr Jonathan Tugume, on Tuesday said the planned bridge will cost $125 million. The old one that sits atop the Owen Falls Dam-completed in 1954, is said to have exceeded its designed lifespan and is set to collapse if not relieved in time.

Despite numerous emergency repairs, it is still said to be in suspect structural condition.
Furthermore, its interconnectivity with the dam has been identified to be increasing its risk exposure.
The bridge is a major link between the Northern Corridor Route and Uganda’s landlocked East African neighbours like Rwanda, Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo.

“The project will be funded using a $100 million loan from the Japanese government at an interest of 0.01 per cent while the government of Uganda will fund the remaining $25 million,” Mr Tugume said.
“The construction works have been appraised for financing by the Japan Government Development Loan and construction is expected to commence in mid-2012 and will be completed in 2016,” he said.

Mr Tugume was on Tuesday taking the 6th joint transport sector review team through the progress status of the second Nile Bridge project at the site in Jinja. The decision on this type of bridge was reached following studies on the geological features of the different proposed sites of the project, the engineer said.

The bridge
He said taking into consideration the width of the river (300 metres), the geological conditions of the area and the implications of building in the river’s waters, this type of bridge is the most technically feasible option.

The bridge to be located to the south of the old bridge will have two major pylons and a dual (2-lane) carriageway bridge deck (road surface) projected to serve for 120 years. The bridge will be constructed using concrete, and coated with an asphalt layer.

In appearance it will seem to be hanging in the air, supported by two 70 metre high pylons connected to the deck by heavy-duty steel cable stays. One pylon will be set on a small island in the river.