YUMBE. Yumbe district has secured Shs3.4 billion under the development response for displacement impacts project (DRDIP) to construct a new bridge on river Kochi that connects Kuru sub-county to Kei sub-county.

Initially, a drift bridge was constructed on the river but the design couldn't favour it and as a result, floods kept on covering the bridge.

The bridge project has been contracted to spider contractors Ltd at a cost of Shs3.4bn. Its design and construction project are expected to take 12 months.

Speaking during the site handover on Wednesday, Mr Bernard Ayimani, the Yumbe district engineer said the project involves many activities which should all be done within the given period.

"This project caters for environment and social issues. We need the contractor to follow the specifications in the contract because in some occasions, contractors fail to do some of the activities like the restoration of the environment, social and safeguard issues," he said.

"We are going to engage the stakeholders to have close monitoring and supervision of the project so that the issue of shoddy work doesn’t trickle in," Ayimani added.

He said site meetings shall be conducted monthly so as to know the progress of the work.

Mr Alli Drasi, the chairperson works and technical committee said quality work should be observed in this project because the river was acting as a blockage in accessing social services.

"It was not easy for the women in Kei sub-county to access Yumbe hospital via the bridge as it sometimes floods. Many people lost lives due to the poor infrastructure," Drasi said.

"I know many of you (the community) would complain of compensation but this work is on a bridge. River Kochi starts from far and has gone very far, so it has no owner. Therefore, the issue of land shouldn't crop in here because it will affect the project," Drasi emphasized.

Mr Nicholas Jemba, the managing director of spider contractors Ltd promised to deliver the project to his best for the people of Yumbe district.

He said spider contractors Ltd has been here since 2006 and has ever done good work in the district thus getting more contract works.

"In our design, we shall raise the pillars of the bridge more than 7metres and it will be taller than the existing drift bridge. We shall not expect to see water flooding for the next 50 years on this bridge," Jemba added.

"We shall also have the road changed from the current position to match the new bridge which will not affect people's gardens. We shall follow the specifications in the contract and ensure that all the activities in the contract document are done," he added.

Mr Saidi Aniku, the district vice chairperson said: "The bridge project brought a lot of grievances within the community and the leadership of the district where there were a lot of accusations. All of us had that pressure but we sat down and looked around on how to construct the bridge to the best of its capacity and where to get the resources."

He added that the government of Uganda heard their cry and accepted the project proposal under DRDIP to a tune of shs3.4bn.

Aniku urged the contractor to do the job without any shoddy work so that there is value for money.

Mr Saidi AnikuMr Saidi Aniku boards the excurvator to flag off the works of the bridge construction on Wednesday. PHOTO BY ROBERT ELEMA