A 42-meter long single-lane bridge, which was inaugurated in the strategically located Yei town, Central Equatorial State on Wednesday, 24 March, promises to enhance the flow of trade and humanitarian supplies into the landlocked region of Southern Sudan.
The bridge lies on Yei's main road connecting Southern Sudan with Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, from where most of Southern Sudan imports come, Minister of Transport and Roads Anthony Makana said at the inauguration ceremony.
Speaking at the event, Yei County Commissioner David Konga Wani said that town residents would also benefit from the bridge because it connected parts of the town on either side of the Yei River.
The construction of the bridge, which took three months, was funded by the UN Mission In Sudan (UNMIS) and implemented by the World Food Program (WFP).
UN Regional Coordinator for Southern Sudan David Gressly said UNMIS would continue collaborating with WFP and the Transport Ministry to develop the infrastructure in Southern Sudan.
"This will benefit our own operations and it will benefit the World Food Program in its delivery of food assistance," Mr. Gressly said.
WFP's Southern Sudan Coordinator Leo van der Velden said that construction of roads and bridges helped not only in transporting food aid but also in boosting trade.
While crossing the new Yei Bridge, truck drivers commended the accomplished work stating they had faced difficulties before the bridge was constructed.
"It was a problem crossing over especially when it rained. We are glad that this is solved," said local truck driver Habib Tabu Amule, and added the Yei-Juba road still needed major refurbishment.
According to WFP lead engineer Stephen Crosskey, the bridge has a carrying capacity of 40 tonnes and a life span of about 20 years.