Chinese firm take responsibility for Kenya's collapsed bridge worth USD11.5 million

The firm added they were baffled since all the standards and specifications were meet.

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Sigiri Bridge located in Budalang'i Constituency near the border with Uganda collapsed on Monday, just two weeks after it was inspected and launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Witnesses told a local media that the bridge across River Nzoia began shaking before the middle slab collapsed.

Chinese Overseas Construction and Engineering Company Project Manager Jerome Xzue Hua told a local media house the company's engineers are baffled by the incident.

Kenyans were however quick to point an accusing finger at the Chinese firm expressing strong displeasure with shoddy work of the bridge and even wondered how it could cost such a huge amount.

The tragedy also took a political dimension with the opposite sides of government trading barbs over the collapse bridge.

Opposition chief, Raila Odinga accused the President for commissioning 'shoddy work’ and blamed the Jubilee Government for overseeing an unprofessional job that was marred with corruption.

While some government officials have decided to read more into the mysterious nature in which the bridge collapsed and accused the opposition for economic sabotage

Mr Hua has however defended the company against claims that it did not adhere to required bridge-building standards.

“This is very unusual because all the standards and specifications required by the employer were met,” he said.

Before adding “We have experienced engineers and we are equally baffled by what happened. We hope to find the root cause of the problem and rectify the matter.

It is suspected the construction was hurriedly done ahead of the president’s visit.

During the inspection, Project Manager Jerome Xzue Hua said they were focusing their attention on the concrete slab and embankment.

“We did not focus much on road construction on the northern side because the most critical point of construction is the bridge’s slab.

"We expect to complete the bitumen work at the end of June for the entire 3 kilometres for both the northern and southern parts,” he had said.

The project was expected to be completed by end of July but will  now take even longer.

The bridge was meant to link Bunyala North and South wards across River Nzoia and avoid unnecessary deaths during rainy seasons.

On August 30, 2014, 11 people perished after a boat they had boarded capsized, killing everyone on board as they attempted to cross the river.

The government has suspended the construction of the bridge until an integrity report on the project is ready.

Mr Hua added that the bridge, whose cost is now likely to shoot up, can be repaired.

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