Residents of Gakenke District are upbeat following the construction of a modern bridge along Base River, with many saying this will make it easier for them to get their agricultural produce to the market.
The old wooden bridge had made the river difficult to cross while some people had lost their lives after slipping off a small suspended wood over the stream and into the the river.
The 60-metre bridge is constructed in Gashenyi sector and links Nyakina and Rutenderi cells.
“The old bridge was made of just two logs and it was extremely hard to cross, especially with luggage. We barred children from crossing because some people had lost their lives,” said Cecile Barakagirande, 78, an area resident.
Barakagirande says she lost three grand children at the bridge.
Base River is one of the main water bodies in the country, and it snakes across the northern part of the country.
Another resident, Marcel Bazimaziki, from Gashenyi Sector, said the bridge had facilitated movement of residents from both sectors, adding it would boost economic activity.
“The new bridge makes it easy for us to access markets not only in Gakenke but also in other districts,” he said, adding that business had already started to boom.
The bridge was built by the district in partnership with Bridge to Prosperity, a US -based nongovernmental organisation that builds foot-bridges and trains people from developing countries to build pedestrian bridges.
Odette Uwitonze, the Gakenke district vice-mayor in charge of economic affairs, commended the new infrastructure, saying it was built to facilitate the transportation of goods from the area to the Base market of the neighbouring district of Rulindo and other marketplaces.
She urged residents to safeguard the bridge for durability.