In a relieving development for road users, the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) has officially opened the River Katonga bridge to taxis, light vehicles, and pedestrians. This significant milestone brings a collective sense of relief to commuters who can now traverse the bridge with ease and convenience.
UNRA announced on Wednesday that, after undergoing necessary repairs, the River Katonga bridge has been declared open for light traffic. This category of vehicles encompasses motorbikes, saloon cars, SUVs, taxis, vans, and coasters (commonly referred to as 28 seaters). Road users can now utilize the bridge without any restrictions, thanks to the completion of the repair works as stated by UNRA.
UNRA has clarified that light vehicles, which have received clearance to utilize the bridge, will have access limited to a single lane. As a result, travelers should anticipate potential delays while crossing the bridge, as traffic flow may be affected.
“Drivers are required to strictly follow the guidelines of the traffic officers, the signs, and the markings on the road for safety and to avoid delays. Further structural integrity assessments shall be carried out to determine the use of the bridge by heavier vehicles. Other interventions will continue with the objective of reinstating the road to its full use in the shortest time possible.”
The opening of the River Katonga bridge brings a sense of relief to numerous travelers who frequently journey towards Masaka and other areas in Western Uganda. Previously, these individuals were compelled to take the lengthy and winding Ssembabule road as an alternative. However, with the bridge now accessible, travelers can rejoice in the convenience and time-saving benefits it offers for their journeys.
As a result of the bridge collapse at Katonga and the subsequent diversion of traffic through Ssembabule, transport fares on the road experienced a significant increase. This surge in fares was primarily attributed to the longer and more exhausting distance travelers had to cover. Additionally, private vehicle drivers expressed concerns about the escalated costs in terms of both fuel consumption and travel time that they would now incur.