Japan to hand over Freedom Bridge to government

Japan to hand over Freedom Bridge to government
The Chief Representative of Japan International Cooperation Agency, Fuyuki Sagara, and the Frist Vice President Dr. Riek Machar during the briefing on Thursday in Juba. [Photo FVP’s Press Unit’s Office]

The government of Japan has confirmed that it will be handing over the freedom bridge project to the government of South Sudan next month.

The Chief Representative of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Fuyuki Sagara, on Thursday, updated the First Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar, on the plan to hand over the bridge.

He said he updated Dr. Machar about some of the activities being implemented by JICA in South Sudan.

According to the Press Secretary and the Director for Information and Public Relations in the office of the First Vice President, Puok Both Baluang, said Dr. Riek hailed the great role that the Japanese government has been playing in the country.

“He commenced the role played by the Japanese government and all the diplomatic projects. He also pledged his full support through to completing the pending projects that are being carried out by the Japanese in the country, “Baluang said.

Fuyuki Sagara told the media on Thursday after the meeting that he updated Vice President, Dr. Machar, on their accomplishments on the Freedom Bridge in Juba.

“The Freedom Bridge project is set to be handed over to the government next month,” he said.

He also informed Machar about the ongoing progress on the construction of a clean drinking water supply system that is expected to be completed in February 2023.

Sagara promised the Japanese continued cooperation and support for the South Sudanese government and people.

He said with the maintenance of peace and security through the full implementation of the revised peace agreement, Japan would continue to work together with the government to develop the country’s infrastructure.

Earlier this month, the Minister of Roads and Bridges announced that the work at Freedom Bridge in Juba has been completed and that the bridge will be officially opened by President Salva Kiir on May 17, 2022.

On March 19, 2015, President Salva Kiir laid the foundation stone on a Japanese-funded $91 million project for the construction of Freedom Bridge, south-east of the River Nile.

The project was expected to reach completion within a few years after the inauguration. However, the renewed conflict that erupted in 2016 made Japan government evacuate its workers from South Sudan and suspend the construction of the Freedom Bridge.

Work on the bridge resumed in mid-2018 when the warring parties embraced peace and ended violent conflicts in the country.

The intention of the Freedom Bridge was to relieve traffic congestion on the Juba Bridge, which is made up of two adjacent 252-metre spans. Since its erection in 1972, the Juba Bridge has required repairs due to the enormous load of trucks carrying tons of weight that exceeds the bridge’s capacity.

The construction of the bridge cost was $91 million. However, in 2019, the government of Japan made another pledge of an additional $28 million for the completion of the bridge.

The government of South Sudan recognised the Japanese government for the great work that they have displayed and given to the people of South Sudan.