In a recent announcement on Monday, the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) has granted authorization for buses to use the Katonga Bridge located along the Kampala-Masaka highway.
This decision comes after a thorough assessment concluded that the bridge can safely support vehicles weighing up to 30 tonnes.
According to UNRA’s statement, both buses and other light vehicles are now permitted to utilize the bridge, but this allowance comes with strict adherence to precautionary measures.
The UNRA statement stated, “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.”
“All permitted traffic is therefore, strongly urged to follow the signage in place and all the traffic guidelines established at a safe approach distance to the bridge,” the statement emphasized.
The Katonga Bridge had been inaccessible to pedestrians and motorists since the flash floods on May 11 swept away a portion of the bridge.
Two weeks later, a temporary bridge was constructed to facilitate movement, initially for pilgrims trekking from the Southwestern region to observe Martyrs’ Day on June 3 in Namugongo.
Subsequently, UNRA allowed light vehicles, including commuter taxis, saloon cars, boda boda riders, and cyclists, to use the bridge.
However, buses traveling to destinations like Masaka, Mbarara, and Kabale had been forced to take a longer diversion route through Mpigi-Butambala-Gomba-Sembabule-Bukomansimbi-Nyendo-Villa Maria-Masaka, which added more than 50 kilometers to their journeys, leading to increased fuel and time costs.
Cargo trucks will still be required to use the diversionary route until the construction of the steel bridge is fully completed.
UNRA explained, “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.”