Tuesday, June 18, 2024
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Buses Now Permitted on Katonga Bridge

The Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) has given the green light for buses to use the Katonga Bridge located on the Kampala-Masaka highway. This comes after a thorough assessment confirmed the bridge’s capability to bear loads of up to 30 tonnes.

In a statement released on Monday, UNRA announced that alongside buses, other light vehicles can now ply the bridge, provided they adhere strictly to the set precautionary measures.

“The existing bridge has now been opened to all buses in addition to the light vehicles that were earlier permitted to use the section under the precautionary measures that are to be implemented immediately by the Contractor (China Communications Construction Company Ltd) during this time,” read a segment of the UNRA statement.
Traffic users are being encouraged emphatically to abide by the signages and traffic guidelines set up, especially when approaching the bridge.

For context, the Katonga Bridge had been rendered inaccessible to pedestrians and motorists alike after a devastating flash flood on May 11 led to the collapse of a section. A fortnight later, a makeshift bridge was constructed to re-establish connectivity. This provisional bridge notably served pilgrims traveling from the Southwestern region to commemorate the June 3 Martyrs’ Day in Namugongo. Subsequent to that, permissions were granted for light vehicles including commuter taxis, saloon cars, and also for boda boda riders and cyclists to use the bridge.

Nonetheless, buses traveling to regions like Masaka, Mbarara, and Kabale have been compelled to navigate a detour via Mpigi-Butambala-Gomba-Sembabule-Bukomansimbi-Nyendo-Villa Maria-Masaka. This diversion added an extra 50 kilometers or more to their route, resulting in heightened fuel consumption and extended travel times.

It’s worth noting that cargo trucks will still have to use the alternative route until the steel bridge under construction is finalized.

Concluding their statement, UNRA mentioned, “Currently, works on phase II of the restoration works at Katonga (construction of the steel bridge) are ongoing and on completion will enable full restoration of traffic at Katonga section before permanent works can commence. We regret any inconvenience caused during this time as we undertake these essential works on our national road network.”

The reopening of the Katonga Bridge to buses is not just a testament to restoration but also a step forward in ensuring smoother and more efficient transportation for the people and businesses relying on this crucial route.

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