A section of the Nawangisa bridge located along Tirinyi highway has collapsed, hampering smooth flow of traffic along the route.
The bridge, situated in Nawangisa wetland, Namalemba sub-county in Iganga district, caved in after a passenger commuter Tax with 15 people tried to go by it.
According to police sources, a commuter taxi with 15 people on board was swept away today, Tuesday when the driver tried to go past the broken bridge. One person has been confirmed dead and the fate of other passengers is yet known.
Nawangisa wetland is located about 85km from Mbale town. The wetland serves as a natural boundary between Kigulu and Buwgweri counties in Iganga district. Raston Bogere, a resident of Nawangisa trading centre said that the heavy downpour cut off two bridges on the highway that are currently under construction.
One of the bridges is at Nabweyo village, some four kilometers from Tirinyi town, and another one at Lusaka village that is between Budaka and Tirinyi.
In a phone interview with our reporter, Kamulya confirmed a taxi registration number UAY 808Y with 15 passengers on board was swept away as it tried to cross Nabweyo bridge.
According to the Bukedi north police spokesperson Sowali Kamulya, the dead person has not yet been identified and by the time of filing this report police was in the process of retrieving the taxi from the water to ascertain the exact number of people who would have perished.
Ms Amina Akurut, another passenger who survived told Daily Monitor that the driver was misled by some residents who advised him to drive through the water.
“We were only saved by good Samaritans who came and rescued us from drowning,” she said.
Tirinyi – Mbale road is now cut off as traffic is being diverted to use the Bugiri – Tororo – Mbale road.
Police have diverted traffic at Kamonkoli and Tirinyi to block heavy vehicles from accessing the road after Sala, Nasanga and Nandusi bridges were washed away.
Light vehicles have been diverted to alternative routes through Naboa-Namusita-Budaka to connect to Kampala and Mbale routes.
“Travellers and transporters have to endure the longer routes to access the main road,” Mr Micheal Ongicia, the Budaka District Police commander said. “It’s unfortunate that one person was killed by the running water and those injured were taken to Budaka Health Centre 1V where they are receiving treatment.”
The dead person was not identified but the body was taken to Budaka Hospital Mortuary
The 102-Km Mbale-Tirinyi-Nakalama road is undergoing construction by Dott Services at a cost of Shs 73 billion.
Some residents are concerned that the vehicles being diverted are likely to spoil the feeder roads that are in a sorry state.