By Tapeng Michael Ohure
One lane of the Juba Bridge is currently undergoing repair work scheduled to last for forty five
(45) days. The repair began on 2nd. October 2021 but for one resident of Gumbo, Morbe Marcelino, the cost of transport has increased so much that he cannot now afford, Morbe nowadays walks from home to work everyday crossing the bridge twice a day.
“This bridge has really caused a lot of problems to me, it is very difficult to get to the place of work,” Said Morbe.
Morbe’s frustration is shared by many who have to cross the only bridge connecting the eastern and western sides of the Nile River in the capital Juba.
The bridge was built in 1974, it has since become very important for many in the capital who have to cross it everyday either to go to work, school or market.
Anania Ohuru another Gumbo resident says crossing the Juba Bridge is always a major frustration to him.”This constant repair of the bridge has been such a nuisance especially to those of us who are living on the Eastern side of the River Nile,” said Ohuru.
“I fear that this bridge may collapse if more bridges linking Juba to the Eastern part of the Nile are not constructed.”
In 2020 the rehabilitation of the inbound lane was done at a cost of $4 million dollars.
The Juba Bridge was built by a Dutch construction company, De Groot International under a United Nations programme between 1972-1974 to connect the main town to the Eastern bank of the River Nile. The Juba Bridge is the shortest line that connects Juba to several East African countries including South Sudan’s Eastern Equatoria and Jonglei states.
Cargo trucks drivers coming from neighboring Uganda and Kenya also complain that the rehabilitation of one lane of the bridge is slowing down delivery of goods and services to the capital Juba.
The truckers say their businesses of transporting containerized goods and services means sleeping on the road several days to deliver supplies to the capital Juba. Mustapha Mohamed (not real name) says he nowadays spends several nights in South Sudan than before.
“We find it difficult to deliver our supplies to Juba on time due to the delays at the bridge,” said Mustapha
The government in Juba has not revealed how much the current maintenance of the bridge costs.