Karuma Bridge: UWA issues guidelines on alternative route through Murchison Park

The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) has issued guidelines to motorists expecting to use the road through Murchison falls national park. This follows a public notice by the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) issued on May 3, diverting lorries, trailers and buses from using Karuma bridge towards Northern Uganda.

Motorists from Kampala heading to Gulu or West Nile, were advised to use the Luwero-Kafu-Masindi-Paraa route, which goes through Murchison falls national park, to connect to Pakwach or Gulu.

Following the development, UWA, being custodians of the national park, advised motorists not to cruise at a speed above 40km/hr. “The park operates from 7a.m to 7p.m. We urge all motorists to plan their journeys accordingly to ensure compliance with these timings. No exceptions will be made in respect to park opening and closing hours,” reads in part, the communication issued by UWA on Sunday evening.

Bashir Hangi, the UWA public relations officer also advised passengers and vehicle operators against littering. “Bus operators are specifically reminded to educate passengers on the importance of keeping the park clean,” Hangi stated, adding that failure to prevent littering will result in penalties imposed on the operator. Motorists were also warned against unnecessary stops within the park, save for emergency situations.

“Please note that all vehicles, except authorised tourist vehicles, are not allowed to deviate from the designated Kichumbanyobo-Tangi road. Any unauthorised diversions will be considered entry without a valid permit and will be penalised accordingly,” Hangi further remarked. The UWA public relations officer also warned against hooting and feeding of wild animals while driving through the park.

According to UNRA, only vehicles carrying less than 28 passengers will continue to use Karuma bridge as the authority identifies a competent contractor to undertake the restoration of the bridge structure, an intervention which is expected to take three months.

Some elements (the concrete deck) of Karuma bridge structure were reported to have deteriorated, hence unable to support heavy trucks. Meanwhile, the wildlife authority noted that the diverted vehicles (lorries, trailers and buses) will be exempted from paying entrance fees through the park.

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Johnmary Luwaga

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