Katonga Bridge: Transport fares hike; Lukaya road toll, Mbizzinnya, and other roadside markets face temporary closure after Katonga Bridge collapse on Kampala-Masaka Highway. #WhisperEyeNews
The Uganda National Roads Authority assessment of the damage after the collapse of the bridge at River Katonga along the Kampala-Masaka highway advised motorists from Kampala to use the route going through Mpigi – Kanoni – Maddu – Ssembabule to Masaka thus making the journey longer by 109km which costs vehicles more fuel.
The route diversion has resulted in a sharp rise in the transport fares for public means mostly taxis to cover up the extra fuel costs incurred.
Roadside vendors at Lukaya load toll, Nabyewanga, Kammengo, Kikunyu, and Mbizzinya markets have cried out to the government to consider their area for relief support, saying they can’t sustain their families since they currently have nowhere to sell their products.
These markets have been selling ready-to-eat food such as gonja, roasted meat, chicken, and drinks of all sorts to passengers and drivers who use this route which has been closed at the moment.
The residents have also challenged the government to stop all encroachments along the shorelines of the River if it is to find a lasting solution to its flooding.
Katonga River water levels considerably increased on Thursday and submerged a section of the highway and the bridge, which made it risky for both motorists and pedestrians to cross to either side of the Kampala-Masaka highway.
Katonga River bridge is the main gateway to the Southwest, linking Uganda to the Masaka sub-region, the western region, and countries like Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
It has a daily average traffic estimate of at least 30,000 vehicles.
Accordingly, it’s like the country is stuck with no options to save hundreds of roadside vendors who earn a living on the Kampala – Masaka highway. It’s not clear when the rain will stop for the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) to commence the construction of a new Katonga Bridge.