NBGS killer bridge’s construction nears completion

The ongoing construction of the Nyamlel Bridge, which has claimed at least 20 lives, will end next month, an official has told Akol Yam.

Located in Northern Bahr el Ghazal State, the bridge is among the eight bridges which were designated to be built under the ‘make unity attractive’ project under the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement.

But when the then Southerners overwhelmingly voted for separation from the Sudan in the January 2011 Referendum and declared independence six months later, the contractor, Ayat company, left it unfinished.

Two people dangerously walk on the Nyamlel Bridge, which years after it was left half-done | Credit | Ambrose Achuil/Akol Yam

An indispensable bridge that connects Gok Machar of Aweil North County with Aweil West, many risked crossing the bridge on foot.

As a result, officials say as many as 20 people have died trying to cross it since then – with the latest death recorded in June 2022. Chol Akoon, 56, reportedly slipped and fell to his death that day.

With funding from the European Union and the United Nations Office for Project Services, Rhino Company started the renovation works in January 2023.

“We decided to expedite the work so that the community and traders who have been facing it hard to cross can resume their daily activities,” said Tito Ker Deng, road and bridges engineer.

For their part, some members of the public there expressed happiness over the renovation, saying it will end their suffering.

“I think no one will die anymore now that we will just cross the river with no difficulties,” Luke Mayom Chol asserted.