By Taban Henry
The Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is set to hand over the Freedom Bridge to the government of South Sudan in the coming month.
The $91 million project was expected to reach completion within few years after the inauguration, but was later halted as soon as renewed conflict erupted in 2016. Then, Japanese aid workers were evacuated from South Sudan and suspended the construction of the Freedom Bridge.
The Japanese Head of Mission in Juba, Fuyuki Sagara met on the midweek with the First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar Teny and discussed on JICA’s project in the country.
After the meeting, the Japanese head of mission to the country said that the construction of the Freedom Bridge is close to completion.
“My visit to the Office of the Vice President was to brief him on the completion of the Freedom Bridge project which is set to be handed over to the government next month and the progress on the ongoing construction of clean drinking water supply system which is expected to be completed in February in 2023,” Ambassador Sagara said.
Moreover, Mr. Sagara said his country will continue to support the young nation in areas of peace building and other sectors.
He said that, with the maintenance of peace and security, Japan will continue to work hand in hand with the revitalized government to develop the country’s infrastructure.
Earlier this month, the government announced that the work of Freedom Bridge would be completed and that it would officially be opened by the President.
In March 2015, President Salva Kiir and the Japan International Cooperation Agency inaugurated the 3.6 Kilometers-long bridge.
In 2019 after resumption, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Japanese engineers working on the bridge were again evacuated putting another halt to the construction.