By Philip Buda Ladu
Residents of Juba are bliss and joyous following the inception of Freedom Bridge constructed by the Japanese People as a grant to South Sudan.
The 560 meters long bridge is built South of the old Juba Bridge connecting Lologo resident areas to Gumbo neighborhood. The bridge will now ease the load put on the old Juba Bridge that stood as the only crossing point since the post-Independence period of the Sudan from the Colonialists
With the Freedom Bridge now ready for use, traffic will be reduced at the old Juba, Gumbo Bridge as residents of Juba yearn to reap big on economic development, peace and security from the new bridge. But already the residents in the vicinity have begun feeling the benefits as it now takes them few minutes to switch over between Gumbo and Lologo.
Santulina Juan a resident of Juba’s Lologo II vicinity at the west bank of the Nile cheers the opening of the new bridge saying it will now relief her of the burden of having to cross to Gumbo market via the old Gumbo Bridge which is a long route compared to the road of the new bridge connecting Lologo to Gumbo direct.
Juan who joined the jubilant magnitude at the official opening of the Freedom Bridge on Thursday as she easily crosses from the west bank to the east bank of the Nile using the new bridge, carrying her toasted peas to the occasion, aiming to sell her goods to the jubilant crowd.
“I am very pleased with this Bridge, because it eases for me the road. I can be able to go on foot and return on foot. I can go to buy my goods from Gumbo market and return with the same road without going to Konyo-Konyo and I will come and sale in the residential area so I am very happy” Juan lamented.
Juan said their lives will be transformed as residents of Lologo with the new bridge as they can now easily access Gumbo market to buy items within a few minutes.
“What they have done is great that’s development and the goodness of a country. I am optimistic I will benefit a lot because I can cross to and fro, on foot not using transport because the passage, they have made for us the pedestrians is big, I can’t fear crossing on foot” she added.
Another resident at the East bank of the Nile, in Gumbo, Rebecca Liet Chol who resides in close proximity to the Freedom Bridge excitedly welcomed the opening of the new permanent bridge saying she can now cross the Nile to Lologo in the Eastern bank at ease. And traffic reduced at the old Gumbo bridge.
“I stay here in Gumbo near the bridge and I work as fish hawker at the river site in Juba Town. What impresses me from the Freedom Bridge is that traffic at Juba Bridge will be less. Previously when the bridge was only one accident were rampant, I thank God to help us and we move ahead with peace and forgiveness, hopefully there will be no any other fighting,” Rebecca said.
“It’s now good because there is no more jam now, if there is anything I want from Lologo I can go very fast on foot I no long need transport. When this bridge was not there, we were not happy because one road brings a lot of accidents,” she added.
Rafana Abdulrahman a motorcyclist and a resident of Juba’s Gumbo Shirkat neighborhood who was among the first users of the bridge shortly after its official opening by the President can’t hide his jubilation over the new bridge saying it will minimize traffic and pressure exerted to the old Juba Bridge.
“I am very happy that the bridge has been opened and it has now opened for us the opportunity to dodge too much traffic jam. Now it has opened us opportunity. We can move with ease and fast. Before; we were suffering of pressure from too much jam but now I am sure there will be nothing else that can bring us jam, because now the bridge has opened there will be two alternative passages from both the new and old bridges, no jam and no pressure” said Rafana.
Wani Eduwin, another motorcyclist who resides in Juba’s Lologo zone was among the first group of commuters over the new bridge, he said residents will be able to move across the Nile faster at times of emergencies as there are now two alternative routes of passage.
“We are grateful because our bridge is now okay and the road will be clear to people. The road on the other side is narrow, now it’s good that another road has been opened for us here (in Lologo). We are happy of our government,” Wani said.