1 STEP AT A TIME: Katonga Bridge partly open for only Pedestrians!
Government has today started allowing pedestrians to resume using River Katonga Bridge on Kampala-Masaka highway as emergency restoration works go on.
This came after the contractor, Chinese Communication Construction Company Ltd (CCCC) erected a temporary pedestrian crossing over.
The first group of pedestrians to use the temporary crossing were pilgrims from Mbarara Archdiocese at 7:00am as they trek to Namugongo Martyrs Shrine in Wakiso District, ahead of the Martyrs’ Day celebrations slated for next week June 3. They had been stranded at the bridge since Monday.
Rev Fr Alfred Byarugaba, the leader of the stranded group from Kinkiizi in Kanungu District, said they started walking on May 14, anticipating that a temporary bridge that government had promised would be in place by the time they arrive at Katonga on Monday, but they have had to wait a few more days.
“We have been sleeping on the tarmac and braving the cold here since Monday but we are happy that we can now continue with our spiritual journey to Namugongo,” the visibly happy priest said.
He said when they set off from Lukaya Town on Monday their next stopover was supposed to be Mitala –Maria Catholic Parish which is 11km ahead to their dismay, they were stopped by policemen manning the bridge.
Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) insists the current temporary crossing at River Katonga Bridge is strictly for pedestrians especially those heading to Namugongo.
“Our team on site has set up a temporary pedestrian crossing at Katonga ensuring safe passage for pilgrims. The provision is to only pilgrims heading from Masaka direction to Kampala and will be available on their return journey after Martyrs Day,” a tweet by Unra reads in part.
Works and Transport Minister, Gen Katumba Wamala, while in Masaka yesterday assured pilgrims that they would be able to use the bridge by Thursday. The minister, however, asked motorists to be a little more patient with them as they work around the clock to ensure that traffic along the bridge returns to normalcy.
“When I was in Sembabule the other day, the residents told me that I should delay fixing the bridge a bit because they are now able to make some money as motorists use the alternative route,” the minister stated in jest, promising that a better and firmer bridge would be constructed.
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