By Masmina Turuju Ejidio
Travelers especially the Gumbo Sherikat residents have expressed fear in crossing the Juba Bridge on foot.
One lane of the bridge is currently under repair. Travelers are now using one lane causing too much congestion especially in the evening hours.
Commuters who spoke to No.1 Citizen Daily Newspaper said some people take the bridge’s renovation as an advantage of robbery within the bridge adding that especially at night since there is no light.
The Gumbo Sherikat residents and other pedestrians said, they are developing fear in crossing the bridge on foot as the bridge shakes due to the movement of heavy trucks especially at night.
They are now calling for speedy renovation of the other lane.
“This situation is really terrible. Sometimes I cry while crossing because some people could just pause while walking if someone is not strong, may eventually fall in to the water. I hereby urge the Government to find for us solution to this problem” said one of the students who identified herself only as Grace.
Another pedestrian, Achol Tong said the transport rates from Gumbo Sherikat to Konyo-Konyo have risen since the beginning of the renovation of the Bridge.
She added that the Government should open the new Bridge.
“One has to stay for one hour sometimes beyond that because it is risky to cross on foot. There is need for the Government to open the new Bridge during this period of renovation and may be close it later when they are done with this one”.
One of the Boda-boda riders, David Wani said that their work is no more the same like the previous one stating that they spent a long time due to traffic jam.
“It is even difficult to deal with the pedestrians due to traffic jam. I am ridding with fear and care besides, what I am earning currently is not the same with the previous one. We increased the Boda-boda transportation rate because we are wasting a lot of time at the bridge” he said.
One taxi driver who preferred to remain anonymous said they have divided themselves into two parts, “others to bring the passengers from Gumbo Shirikat to the bridge, and others to pick passengers from the other side of the bridge to Konyo-konyo but still what we are doing is not a solution to the situation”.
“It’s really risky for the pedestrians walking through the bridge to get transport on the other side or for those at Konyo-Konyo side to foot and take the transport to Gumbo Shirikat” he said.
“All I need from the Government is to open for us the New Bridge (Freedom Bridge) for a while till the renovation is done. You can even see how the School children are suffering on daily basis crossing the bridge with fear and in fact it’s risky especially for the young ones”.
The Juba Bridge was constructed in 1972 and it underwent some repairs in 2008.
It stands as the only bridge across the Nile in South Sudan, at least until the completion of the Freedom Bridge.
The Bridge connects South Sudan to the East African region where most imports are brought.