YUMBE. The construction of a mortar bridge on river Kaya at Uganda-South Sudan border that had stalled due to lack of funds will soon be completed.

This follows the allocation of funds under the Development Response to Displacement Impact Project (DRDIP).

A total of shs1.2bn has been allocated under DRDIP for the completion of the stalled bridge.

The work on the bridge commenced in 2013 with a groundbreaking ceremony that was attended by officials from both Uganda and South Sudan.

The officials signed a deal of sharing the cost of the bridge but since the outbreak of war in South Sudan, their promise has not yet been fulfilled, leaving the government of Uganda to solely fund the project.

The project was contracted to Ms Dach Engineering Construction Company at an initial cost of shs1.6bn.

Mr Bernard Ayimani, the Yumbe district Engineer said the project took unnecessarily long due to the unfulfilled pledge from the leaders of South Sudan thus forcing them to look for alternative sources of funding.

He said the project stalled at the deck level, adding that the residents later decided to put some timbers on the deck to cross over, a risky venture to their lives. If completed, the route will also offer the shortest distance to Juba, the capital of South Sudan, compared to other routes.

"We have now got funds from DRDIP to complete the mortar bridge and once completed, this will open up an international trade route to Juba and in the event of peace returning to South Sudan, it will offer repatriation route for over shs1m Sudanese refugees in Uganda," Ayimani said.

He noted that the handover of the mortar bridge will be soon. Ayimani remained optimistic that the money allocated will complete the work.

Mr Yassin Taban, the Yumbe district chairman said the construction of the bridge has been long overdue.

"This development will pave way for smooth transportation and marketing of goods between the two countries once peace returns to South Sudan. We are appreciative to the government for the initiative because there are a number of infrastructural development undertaken in Yumbe", he said.

"As we talk about river Kaya bridge completion, another shs3.6bn has been earmarked for the construction of a bridge on river Kochi along Kuru-Lobe road under the same DRDIP. Jure Bridge has also been contracted to CHICO Construction Company limited," Taban added.

He said currently, the engineers from the ministry of works and technical services are making an assessment and carrying out the design on Kochi bridge project.