There are sometimes some stories, that are sounding more like fiction, than actual reality. In this manner, I have the same feeling. What is happening to the Source of the River Nile Bridge shouldn’t be happening. Since President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni commissioned the opening of the bridge on the 17th October 2018. Already in late January, about 28th January 2019, just mere months into use of the Bridge. There was crack in the asphalt and with the surface of the bridge. It was starting to look bad. Therefore, the Uganda National Road Authority (UNRA) and the engineers went in to change the surface and the tarmac. However, that has not helped, as the problem has resurfaced.
As of 2nd April and such. There is new bumps(which been reported the last 48 hours by the Observer), already of the second time asphalt and tarmac on the surface of the bridge. Certainly, the costs of the bridge, the amounts of companies involved in this bridge. They should know what to do as contractors. Still, these companies together with UNRA is failing to do their mission. To make a surface viable for the weather condition and usage of the motorists. That is why it gets bumps and cracks this quick.
“Government of Uganda in the Financial year 2010/2011 acquired a loan accounting to US Dollar 102 Million (about Ug. shs. 232 Billion) to fund the construction of the Source of the Nile Bridge Project. Uganda National Road’s Authority (UNRA) on behalf of Government of Uganda contracted Joint Venture of Zerilaka Corporation and Hyundai Engineering and Construction Co. Ltd, a Japanese company to undertake the construction of the Bridge. The Construction of the Bridge started on 14th April 20l4 and by May 2018, the works on the main bridge structure were completed” (P: 5, 2019).
“The Committee was informed that the main bridge structure would last 120 years, water proofing materials for 20 years and the Bridge Deck Asphalt for 1O- 15 years. The Committee was further informed that the main bridge structure is structurally sound with no single defect. However to ensure the longevity of bridge deck a 4mm synthetic waterproof membrane was used in between the concrete bridge deck to surface and 70mm thick asphalt wearing course but due to lack of proper bond, the asphalt surface course was unable to withstand the shearing force applied to it by the passage of traffic”(P: 7, 2019).
“Information received by the Committee revealed that a total of approximately 1.3 million Us Dollars was incurred by the contractor doing the repairs to remedy the defects. Members may wish to note that the said bridge deck asphalt was meant to last for a lifespan of 10-15 years therefore replacement” (P: 9, 2019).
“The Committee is constrained to believe that there was laxity on the side of UNRA to closely supervise and monitor the work of the contractor on the new Bridge. Three months after the commissioning of the bridge, defects were detected due to traffic on the bridge” (P: 12, 2019).
The Parliament Committee surely doesn’t give way on this matter, as it shouldn’t. Because UNRA and its contractors should have tested, gotten knowledge and known what type of asphalt or tarmac is needed to be steady on the bridge. As the humidity and the planned amount of pressure because of traffic. Should have been studied and configured to the bridge and its final layer. However, that hasn’t happen. Even if the project has been loaned millions upon millions of United State Dollars.
What is really striking, the deck asphalt was supposed to last between 10-15 years, but only lasted mere months. The second layer lasted from the end of January 2019 until now in the March 2019/early April 2019. The second layer was as bad for the bridge as the second one. Certainly, the UNRA and the contractors should be horrified of their shoddy work on the public’s dime. This is impressive in all the wrong ways. This isn’t a typo, this is a blend of asphalt and the lack of due diligence.
$1.3m USD has been spent on the second layer alone. This is a hefty payment over a lack of proper work by all parties involved. Certainly, the UNRA, the Ministry of Works and Transport and anyone else involved in this matter. Should be questioned and a further investigation. Since, the government authority, the ministries involved and all of the stakeholders should answer, why there wasn’t done proper preparation for a project cost of $102m USD loan, which the state will pay back in full.
We can certainly state that all parties didn’t do their job or even find out what was needed. Nevertheless, this shows an ignorance and lack of professionalism, which is again reflects on the surface of newly built bridge. Peace.
REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE ON PHYSICAL INFRASTRUCTURE ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF BUMPS ALONG THAT NEW BRIDGE ON RIVER, NILE, JINJA (February 2019).