Last Updated on: 24th March 2023, 01:43 pm
Residents of Pakele sub-county in Adjumani district who has been for more than 15 years suffering due to the lack of a bridge on River Iraji are now beginning to smile as the Iraji bridge is nearing completion.
Iraji bridge which is worth shs2.8 billion has been constructed by the Development Response to Displacement Impact Projects (DRDIP) which is focusing on addressing the impact of the protracted presence of refugees on the hosting communities.
The bridge connects Ayilo one and Ayilo two refugee settlements to Pakele and Adjumani town.
Mr. Kenyi Welborn is the local council three (LC3) Chairperson of Pakele sub-county. He said the Iraji bridge is a strategic bridge that has been facilitating service delivery to both refugees and host communities.
He noted that all referrals from Ayilo health center two to the main hospital pass via the Iraji bridge.
Kenyi added: “Refugees and host communities seeking education and other health services on either side cross river Iraji and now Iraji bridge will facilitate easy movement once it is completed.”
Mr. Patrick Anyama Gadafi, one of the residents of the village who also doubles as the secretary of the Community Procurement Committee said, the bridge is very vital and it will help connect the host communities and refugees access basic social services.
“We have a potential market here, when this bridge is completed we shall be able to take our goods to the market,” he added.
He described the bridge as “a security road” and “vital” for the people.
Eng Patrick Dino, the contract manager of shataman contractors (u) Ltd affirmed that the shs2.8 billion project commenced with the geotechnical survey and hydrological studies.
But the designs, approval, and procurement process, he said delayed the works at the beginning.
“We have been facing challenges of rains that kept on disturbing the work, but in a period of one month the project would be completed.”
“As a reputable construction company, I want to assure the people of Adjumani that we shall hand over quality work to ensure the same mistake will not occur,” Patrick said.
Mr. Gordon Ndahura is the World Bank Infrastructure Specialist who visited the bridge as part of their mission to monitor how the projects in the first phase of DRDIP were implemented. He said he is impressed with the ongoing bridge works.
“Our main concern is the protection of upstream and downstream, we don’t want erosion to go eating into the banks of the bridge, but we shall do another inspection after the completion so that we see that the final product is good,” Ndahura stated.
In January 2021, residents of Indriani village in Pakele sub-county created an alternative route across the Iraji River.
However, their efforts did not bear fruit after a heavy truck plunged into the alternative path.
In the financial year 2014/2015 under the Danish Refugee Council (DRC), the same bridge was contracted to some company at a cost of shs 998 million but the contractor abandoned the project yet they were paid about 75% of the contract value.
The Development Response to Displacement Impacts Project (DRDIP), is a five-year regional project focusing on addressing the impacts of the protracted presence of refugees on the hosting communities in the five Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) countries of Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti, and Somalia.
In Uganda, DRDIP is a flagship Government of Uganda project funded by the World Bank and being implemented under the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM).
In 2017, the World Bank gave Uganda a $ 50 million loan and in 2019, the World Bank also gave $ 150 million as grants.