Under construction by a Chinese company, a bridge in Kenya has mysteriously collapsed less than a fortnight after President Uhuru Kenyatta came to inspect it. Campaigning hard for re-election, the president visited Busia County on 14 June, saying the $11.5m Sigiri Bridge, expected to be complete next month, would transform people’s lives by making it easier to cross the treacherous River Nzoia.
But 12 days later on 26 June one end of the 50-m-long central span broke off from the landward span and crashed to the ground, injuring a number of workers, reports Kenya’s Daily Nation.
The contractor is reported to be China Overseas Construction and Engineering Company (COVEC). Work began in 2015.
COVEC said it had done nothing wrong.
“We adhered to all the set standards before and during the construction of the bridge,” COVEC’s project manager told the newspaper, adding: “We have experienced engineers and we are equally baffled by what happened.”
The project manager also insisted 20 people were injured, not 27 as reported.
The government has now suspended construction of the bridge pending a probe into the cause of the collapse, and police are investigating the possibility of foul play.
Infrastructure Principal Secretary John Mosonik said that the Kenya Rural Roads Authority had “dispatched a team of top Engineers to site to investigate the cause of the failure”.