Mbarara city closes damaged Katete bridge

Mbarara city authorities have closed Katete bridge to all vehicles due to extensive damage.

The bridge that was constructed in 1999 crosses over River Rwizi and provides a shortcut for travellers connecting to Mbarara from Isingiro district, and a shorter route to residents who stay in Nyamitanga and Katete Ward.

At the moment only pedestrians and cyclists are allowed to use the damaged bridge which has been repaired more than four times but it has continuously been not up to the standard. Some of the previous repairs forced the Inspectorate of Government to commence investigations into the alleged shoddy works after the pillars that were built at Shs 25 million collapsed. 

Part of the damaged bridge
Part of the damaged bridge

Hillary Mugisha, the city engineer says considering distress levels on the bridge, they have decided to physically close it for all motorized traffic. Mbarara mayor, Robert Mugabe Kakyebezi says they have temporarily closed the bridge to avoid uncertainties as they wait for the funds from the Finance ministry to be released in the first quarter of the 2024/25 financial year.

He said that since the city lacks funds, the bridge will be constructed by the Works ministry. Mwine Paka, Mbarara city South MP said that the bills of quantities (BoQ), bridge designs, and a budget of Shs 6.9 billion have been submitted to both ministries of Finance and Works.

In November, Mbarara city councillors tasked city clerk Asse Abireebe Tumwesigire to account for funds spent on the bridge repairs. The councillors argued that they okayed the release of over Shs 5 million under the emergency response fund in September to repair the bridge which was in a bad state.   

However, less than a month after repairs were done, the plates on the bridge developed holes while others were missing.

Source: The Observer

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