Uganda and DRC to build Ishasha bridge

Kanungu RDC Ambrose Mwesigye (left) and North Kivu Governor representative Pataoli Katikomu (right) sign an agreement to expedite the construction of Ishasha bridge on September 16, 2022. PHOTO/FELIX AINEBYOONA

Officials from the government of Uganda and the DR Congo last Friday signed an agreement to give way for the construction of Ishasha bridge at the border of the two countries in Kanungu District.
Ms Evelyne Kahuma, the Uganda National Roads Authority (Unra) project engineer for Rukungiri-Kihihi -Ishasha/Kanungu road, said the bridge construction will be part of the current roadworks in Kanungu.  
“We have had an engagement with DR Congo for the past four years over the Ishasha bridge, but I am grateful that today [last Friday], we have had a breakthrough,” she said.
Ms Kahuma also expressed worry over the state of the bridge.
“The wearing surface of the bridge is cracked. Originally, we did not have much traffic, but because the Bunagana border is closed, all the traffic that is going to Goma is using this bridge,” she said.

After the signing of the agreement, Unra was allowed to carry out geotechnical investigations on the bridge so that the construction starts in a month.
“The whole process will take approximately one year at a tune of Shs3.5b. We are going to introduce a walkway, which has not been part of the old bridge,” Ms Kahuma said.

The Resident District Commissioner for Kanungu District, Mr Ambrose Mwesigye, said: “It is paramount that the bridge gets worked on as soon as possible to ensure that there is no breakdown in transport services. The DR Congo is now part of the EAC and, therefore, our trade infrastructure is important.” 
“There is a lot of relationship between Ugandans and the Congolese, there is a lot of business going on across the border. Apparently, this border has heavy traffic of both human and commercial products,” Mr Mwesigye added.

He further said the two countries agreed to maintain security during and after the construction of the bridge.
Mr Pataoli Katikomu, the representative of the Governor of North Kivu Province, said they understand the importance of the bridge to both countries.
“The route through Bunagana is not operational, so we are going to study the route. This bridge should be constructed in a period of one year,” he said.


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