Juba-Nimule Bridge Caves In

Nov 7, 2006 (JUBA) — Transport to Juba via the Nimule road was strained on Monday when part of the key bridge connecting it to Uganda gave way under a heavily-loaded trailer.


Wednesday 8 November 2006.

The quarter-century-old bridge over River Nile outside Juba town was overwhelmed by tonnes of cement on a Ugandan registered Benz trailer UAD 720U at 3:00pm.

As the iron plates curved-in, the metallic railings held the huge trailer from dropping into the river. A pick-up closely following it, whose registration could not be established, got trapped.

The white trailer lay in the thick metallic bars, its rear shielding the pick-up and lapping the flowing Nile waters. The front was peering towards the end of the bridge.

Immediately after the accident, SPLA soldiers and military police from the nearby barracks were deployed to guard and guide motorists and pedestrians.

The officer heading the mission said no deaths were recorded and the driver and turn-boy were not injured.

Yesterday morning the South Sudan president, Salva Kiir and his deputy Dr. Riek Machar visited the scene. They inspected the scene and walked across the remaining structure as if to assure travellers that it was safe. They stood for sometime at the gap created by the accident. Kiir said the bridge was 25 years old and “its lifetime had expired.”

Residents gathered near the bridge in groups, taking stock of the accident as security personnel tried to keep them at bay.

Juba town and a large section of southern Sudan residents now use a single lane of the bridge, which is too narrow for vehicles to overtake.

The accident was an indicator that the bridge which survived decades of war, torrential rains, turbulent river flow and heavy loads has retired.

The Juba-Nimule road is the shortest conduit of merchandise from Uganda on which Juba dwellers largely depend.

The alternative route of Arua-Kaya-Yei-Juba is massively gullied. Heavy rains in past weeks have worsened the potholes.

Travellers said over 200 trucks with merchandise were stuck on the road.

Posted in: Travel
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