Freedom Bridge nears completion

By Peter James Loruba

Construction of Freedom Bridge is nearing completion, the engineers said yesterday.

Works at Freedom Bridge resumed in May this year after years of stoppage following the outbreak of conflict in Juba.

The project started in August 2013 but was suspended after the December conflict. Works resumed in February 2016 only to be suspended again after fighting resumed in Juba in July 2016.

However, Umeda Norio, the resident engineer for CTI Engineering International yesterday said about 70 percent of the work is already done.

Umeda was speaking to journalists yesterday after hosting civil engineering students from the University of Juba.

Norio said once completed, Freedom Bridge also known as the River Nile Bridge will serve for about 100 years if well managed.

“Generally the lifespan of the bridge is 100 years if maintenance is properly done. If there is no maintenance, it will be dilapidated so I hope for good maintenance and management to keep the lifespan,” Norio said.

The Freedom Bridge project employs more than 200 people with 180 on the site. Of the 180, 150 are South Sudanese.

But there is no female employed in the construction of the bridge which Norio attributed to lack of interest by females in engineering works.

The students’ visit at the site was intended for them to be acquainted with the practical aspects of their profession.

In regard to the visiting students, the experienced Japanese engineer talked about their role to make sure the students realize their potential.

“One of our obligations is to teach them (students) the technology for the young people, on the other hand young people should have a purpose for visiting a place like this,” Nario said.

Thon Phillip Kuer, a fourth-year civil engineering student at the University of Juba said the visit was important to them.

“Our visit is to get acquainted with what we have learnt in the class to see how it is being implemented and how it is put into action. We have learnt how the pillars are put into the river and the ground, we have also learnt the tons or weight the pillar can manage to carry,” Kuer said.

The 560 meter bridge is expected to be finished by the end of July 2021. This will be the second bridge in Juba after the current Juba Bridge that was constructed in 1972. It will handle 45 tons.

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