The Ugandan Roads Authority, UNRA, has given the green light for buses to once again cross the Katonga Bridge on the Kampala-Masaka highway.
In an announcement made on Monday, UNRA extended the permission for crossing the bridge not only to pedestrians but also to motorbikes, salon cars, SUVs, station wagons, commuter taxis, and 28-seater vehicles known as coasters.
UNRA emphasized that all permitted vehicles, including buses, should adhere to the posted signage and traffic guidelines when approaching the bridge. These measures are to be promptly implemented by the contractor, China Communications Construction Company Ltd.
UNRA stated, “The existing bridge is now accessible to all buses, in addition to the smaller vehicles that were already allowed to use this section under precautionary measures.”
UNRA explained that their decision to permit buses on the bridge came after sustained technical monitoring and recent assessments, which confirmed the bridge’s ability to withstand loads of up to 30 tonnes.
The restoration of Katonga Bridge continues with the ongoing second phase of construction for the steel bridge, paving the way for full reopening to traffic in the Katonga section before permanent repairs can commence.
The decision to allow buses to use the Katonga Bridge has brought relief to many people, including passengers. Those traveling from Western Uganda, who faced not only increased transport fares but also the arduous journey through Gomba and Ssembabule, will benefit greatly.
This development is also a relief for bus drivers and company owners who incurred additional expenses in terms of fuel and time while avoiding the damaged bridge.
The alternative route through Gomba had its share of problems, including several accidents, due to its many corners and unfamiliarity to many drivers.
In May, a portion of Katonga Bridge collapsed following heavy rains and flooding, effectively cutting off the Kampala-Masaka Highway.