Rwanda Transport Development Agency (RTDA) will soon embark on refurbishment of more than 30 major bridges countrywide, officials have said.
The bridges, to be repaired in conjunction with the Rwanda Defence Forces Engineering Brigade and Reserve Force, RTDA say, are dilapidated over old age, some having been constructed during the colonial era.
According to Leonard Twagirumukiza, the RTDA division manager in charge of development and maintenance operations, a survey carried out countrywide last year revealed that a total of 33 bridges were in bad state and needed intervention to avert disaster.
He said RTDA draws support to construct and renovate roads from the Road Maintenance Fund (RMF).
“All 33 bridges were found to be in a state of emergency and needed rapid intervention,” said Twagirumukiza in an interview last week, adding that whereas some need total overhaul, others will require just renovation.
He said the total cost of the works will be determined after they have concluded the negotiations with the Rwanda Defence Forces Engineering Brigade and Reserve Force, who will carry out the works.
Twagirumukiza said RTDA was postive that RMF would avail the needed funds as works are expected to commence in the coming months.
Works in progress
Twagirumukiza said that works to revamp the damaged Nyarutovu Bridge in Gakenke District are ongoing and he was optimistic it will be completed in four months.
The bridge, which caved in last year following landslides that killed 34 people in the district, is being constructed by the RDF Engineering Brigade at a tune of Rwf94 million.
He said construction of another bridge in Musanze District will start in three weeks as RTDA has asked the contractor to submit quotations before the funds can be released.
Other bridges that will be refurbished in Gakenke District include those along the 33-kilometre Gicuba- Janja feeder road, which is being constructed by RDF Reserve Force at a tune of Rwf1.9 billion
According to Mathias Sibomana, the technical director at Road Maintenance Fund, this Financial Year 2016/17, the Fund has availed over Rwf30 billion for RTDA projects, including construction and renovation of bridges.
The Fund is replenished by fuel levy and levy toll from international cargo trucks that cross into the country.
This year, the Fund targeted to raise more than Rwf40 billion but the amount has been surpassed, according to the officials.
Call for quick action
Residents living in areas where bridges are damaged have appealed for quick intervention to ensure that the bridges are renovated, saying the damage affects their socio-economic development.
Leonille Nyirahakizimana, from Musanze District, appealed for authorities to fix Kamila Bridge in Muko Sector, which connects three sectors in the district.
“We fear for our children who have to cross the bridge to go to school in Gakenke District. Besides, we use the bridge to transport our goods,” Nyirahakizimana said.
RFM supports renovation of national roads and main district roads categorised in class one. These are roads connecting districts with the City if Kigali or with several sectors.