West Nile leaders task govt to build bridge on River Nile
What you need to know:
- The Uganda National Roads Authority (Unra) has also always finalised plans to begin building Laropi Bridge. It will be located at a spot where the Atiak-Laropi-Afogi road intersects with River Nile at the Moyo-Adjumani border.
A cross section of leaders and residents of West Nile Sub-region have asked the government to expedite plans to construct a bridge across the River Nile to ease movement between Moyo and Adjumani districts.
Movement between Moyo and Adjumani is by ferry, and ahead of Christmas last week, thousands of travellers crisscrossing the two districts were stranded for hours and others for days as they waited for the ferry at Laropi.
Mr Hassan Kaps Fungaroo, the former Obongi Member of Parliament, said using the ferry is no longer sustainable.
“The evidence is that in the past two days, due to the congestion at the ferry, many people suffered a lot while waiting to cross the Nile as they moved home for Christmas,” he said at the weekend.
“I was going to be one of the victims to suffer at Laropi ferry as I travelled from Kampala to Obongi but after getting the bad news about the congestion, I was forced to change direction from Gulu and move to Obongi via Pakwach bridge,” Mr Fungaroo added.
The Uganda National Roads Authority (Unra) has also always finalised plans to begin building Laropi Bridge. It will be located at a spot where the Atiak-Laropi-Afogi road intersects with River Nile at the Moyo-Adjumani border.
But Mr Fungaroo said it is time for the government to immediately embark on the construction of the Laropi-Nile Bridge.
“The people of the Madi Sub region need a joint advocacy team for the Laropi-Nile bridge construction. We need more efforts. Let us build on the voices calling special attention from the Government of Uganda on the construction of the Laropi Bridge on the Nile,” he said.
Mr Sam Muki, a driver from Juba, South Sudan, said that he spent three days at the landing site.
“We have been at the site for three days now as you can see the long queue waiting to cross. The ferry is not enough for the vehicles and passengers at the moment and our government has not listened to our cries,” Mr Muki said.
Mr Martin Izaruku, the councillor representing Lefori Sub-county, said the construction of a bridge is long overdue. “The government always waits for the election period to make empty promises on infrastructural development such as roads and bridges, which have remained in a poor state in the region,” he said.
Mr Geoffrey Maiku, a businessman in Moyo Town, said lack of a bridge crossing affects development of the area.
Mr Henry Drichi, the captain of Laropi ferry, acknowledged the big numbers but said they are trying their best to serve all the people.
“We had some challenge with the big number of people but we are managing the situation. We have rescheduled the operation of the ferry due to the increase in demand and we served 24 trips by yesterday (Saturday), which ended at midnight and we are still loading more trips,” he said.
How vessel operates
Laropi vessel connects the landing sites of Laropi and Umi and starts operations at 5:30am and ends at 7pm. It has a vessel capacity of 120 tonnes. It carries an average of 1,500 to 1,800 people per day with a minimum of 12 trips and a maximum of 22 trips. It takes 30 minutes for loading and offloading while the time to cross is between 10 to 15 minutes.
The ferry has a capacity of 180 passengers and cargo of 90 tonnes as per the Certificate of Sea Worthiness.
To provide for maintenance of the ferry, usually the team reserves half a day for routine maintenance.