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Isimba Dam Bridge Construction was Altered for Security Reasons - Govt

The government and the Isimba Dam contractor have said the plans for the Isimba Dam bridge was altered from on top of the dam for security reasons.
The 183 MW Hydro Power dam under construction at Isimba along River Nile in Kayunga District.

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The Government and the Isimba Power Dam contractor have both admitted that the plan for the Isimba Dam bridge was altered at the top of the dam for security reasons.

Although the 183MW Isimba Power Dam was commissioned on March 21, 2019, a bridge which was meant to be constructed on top of the dam to link Kayunga and Kamuli districts stalled.

The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga raised concern that government officials had swindled about 24 billion Shillings set aside for the bridge.

Now it has been established that after evaluation, the government noted that the bridge atop the dam poses security and terrorism concerns and should not be used. It was then altered downstream the Nile.

Xia Nenghai, the Project Manager of China Water and Electrical Company Ltd. working on the Isimba Dam says it is indeed true the bridge was altered for security reasons. He says Government raised reports of security concern at a time when the bridge was already complete.

He says although this was not a fault on their part, they will have to bare the cost of the new bridge.

Nenghai says unfortunately they are supposed to use part of the 567 million dollars to construct the bridge. According to Nenghai, other factors such as maintenance of the dam, would also require the bridge to be closed.

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Meanwhile, a statement from the Minister of Energy and Mineral development, Mary Kitutu addressed to Parliament indicates that based on the technical committee engagements, Government directed the contractor to construct a separate public access bridge with two lanes as specified in the Contract since construction of the lsimba dam had advanced. 

She says further consideration was given to security and terrorism concerns, avoidance of interference with dam operation and maintenance activities as well as traffic blockage during removal of the trash and water hyacinth.

The committee was composed of representatives from Uganda Electricity Generation Company Limited, Solicitor General, UNRA and Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development.

Kitutu says that this led to the shifting of the bridge downstream were a better and more secure bridge is being established. She also says the contractor had constructed a single lane on the bridge atop the dam which was not feasible.

“ln the approved design, the lsimba Public Access Bridge consists of two sections joined at Koova lsland. The section on the left river channel is 433 meters, while the section on the right river channel is 457 meters. The road section on Koova lsland is 301 meters,” Kitutu says in a statement.

Kitutu also says that efforts are being undertaken to ensure that the Contractor has sufficient cash flow to continue and complete construction by 31 December 2020 as per the provisions of the Contract.

Government had withheld up to 154 billion Shillings for the contractor to first complete all works.